An Elgin woman, Emilee Rauschenberger, her British husband, and their five children have successfully escaped Gaza, finding refuge in Egypt. They were among the first wave of people to exit through the Rafah border crossing, following intense conflict initiated by a Hamas-led terrorist attack on October 7. The family was visiting in Gaza when the violence began, leaving them little choice but to hunker down in a nearby apartment, as referenced in the Chicago Tribune.
To secure exit from Gaza, Emilee's family enlisted help from three U.S. senators and four representatives. One of these representatives, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, coordinated with U.S. officials promptly after the attack, ensuring Emilee and her family a spot on the evacuation list, as was noted by the Chicago Tribune.
When arriving in Egypt, Emilee's family faced a 72-hour deadline to exit the country. Still, Emilee described the relief of being out of the conflict zone as "happier than a lark." Her father, John Rauschenberger, noted a marked decrease in his daughter's stress during a FaceTime call after they found accommodation in a Cairo hotel, an account corroborated by an ABC7 Chicago report.
Although Emilee's husband holds British citizenship and was born in Palestine, at first, he wasn't enumerated on the family evacuation list. The man succeeded in convincing Egyptian officials to allow him and his family into the country; a feat his father-in-law later lauded, calling him "quite a salesman."
John Rauschenberger emphasized that despite his family's escape, numerous other Americans remain trapped in Gaza who are also in desperate need of rescue. He urged the safe extraction of these stranded individuals and of any Hamas hostages, while also promoting an end to the terrorist organization's reign.
Aiming to eventually relocate to the United States, Emilee's family is presently working to expedite a visa for her husband, who is in the process of seeking a green card. They plan, according to Emilee's interview with ABC7 Chicago, to return to the United Kingdom by Sunday, followed by a visit to their relatives in Chicago.
As Emilee's family relishes their newfound security, hundreds still remain in Gaza amid ongoing conflict.