Detained Canadian expected home soon

VANCOUVER — Family and friends of one of three Canadians detained after Israeli soldiers stormed an aid convoy off the Gaza coast say they’ve been told he’ll be back home within days.

VANCOUVER — Family and friends of one of three Canadians detained after Israeli soldiers stormed an aid convoy off the Gaza coast say they’ve been told he’ll be back home within days.

But the identities and fates of the two other Canadians remained a mystery Tuesday.

Foreign Affairs said it was aware of three Canadian citizens who were taken into custody following the violent confrontation between pro-Palestinian activists and the Israeli military that left nine people dead.

A department spokeswoman said consular officials were working with Israeli authorities to provide assistance to the trio, but the ministry did not release their names or further details.

The lack of information sparked questions on Parliament Hill, where opposition leaders urged Ottawa to bring them home as soon as possible.

But the only question friends and family of Victoria resident Kevin Neish were asking was what they’re going to do when they’re reunited with him.

Neish’s daughter Jennifer said she was told her father would be deported from Israel within three days.

“I just got the call from the consulate saying they have seen Kevin Neish and he is alive and well and will be deported from Israel in the next 72 hours,” she said in an email.

Neish’s friend Anne Hansen said he’ll be getting a big hug when he’s back on Canadian soil.

“I wish I could be the first in line but I probably won’t be,” she said with a laugh.

Neish, a 53-year-old retired marine engineer, was aboard one of six vessels on a mission to carry humanitarian relief to the blockaded Gaza Strip.

He was going to repair a well in a Palestinian community in Gaza but, on the ship, he was assigned to non-violently “defend” journalists in the event of a military boarding, gaining them enough time to file stories.

“It should be interesting, to say the least,” he wrote late last month on the website Dialogue with Diversity.

Neish’s brother Steve was relieved that his younger sibling would soon be home.

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