A 17-year-old girl from Gaza says she’s grateful to the Icelandic Parliament for granting her Icelandic citizenship last week, RÚV reports. Asil Al Masri is currently in hospital in Egypt, recovering from injuries sustained in an Israeli attack that killed several of her family members and injured others. Asil looks forward to reuniting with her brother who lives in Iceland.
One of Alþingi’s last tasks before a holiday recess last week was to grant 20 people Icelandic citizenship by parliamentary decree. Seventeen-year-old Asil was within the group. She lost her mother, sister, and five-year-old nephew in an Israeli army attack on October 17, which also injured several more of her relatives. A short time later, Asil’s father died in hospital. Asil herself was also seriously injured in the attack, leading to her leg being amputated above the knee. After the amputation, she was transferred to a hospital in Cairo, Egypt.
Asil has therefore lost her home and all of her immediate family besides her brother Suleiman who lives in Iceland. It’s thanks to Suleiman’s efforts and supporters in Iceland that Asil is now officially an Icelander.
Wants to thank the Icelandic people
Speaking to RÚV reporters via video call from Cairo, Asil stated her condition was improving and she expected to be “in perfect health” by the time she reached her new home. Asked what her plans were once she reached Iceland, Asil stated “At first I want to meet every Icelander that helped me, that spent time and effort to reach my case to the Icelandic government.” Then she added: “After finishing my treatment, I want to start to study the Icelandic language to continue my studies.”
In the longer term, Asil stated that she wants to “give back to the Icelandic community and enter the labour market so I can help with the renaissance and the development of Iceland.”
She also asked to convey a message to those who helped her gain Icelandic citizenship. “I would like to thank the Icelandic Members of Parliament, the Icelandic people, and all the humanitarian associations and institutions that understood my humanitarian situation.”