An Oldham woman whose fiancé is stuck in Gaza is hoping he can get out during a temporary ceasefire.

Glodwick mum-of-three Afshan Abubakar is now hoping her fiancé, Hani Abualqaraya, can get out of Gaza during a pause in fighting.

A four-day ceasefire had been due to begin on Thursday morning, but hit a snag after Israel’s national security adviser, Tzachi Hanegbi, announced a delay late on Wednesday, without providing a reason. The ceasefire is now set to take effect on Friday.

Afshan and Hani consider themselves Islamically married to one another, but this is not recognised by the British government.

They first met in person when Afshan travelled to Egypt, after she volunteered to help teach English to children at a school in Gaza virtually over video calls.

Oldham East and Saddleworth MP Debbie Abrahams has been contacting ministers in the UK to try to get Hani added to the British list of evacuees after his visa was granted, something Afshan says has given her hope.

Afshan has previously spoke of Hani struggling to find water, and has been left anxious as internet access in the region has been sporadic, and is now facing additional worries at home after losing her job.

Hani is now located around half-an-hour away from the Rafah border crossing with Egypt in the south of the strip, according to Afshan.

Sign up to our newsletters to get the latest stories sent straight to your inbox.

Afshan worries that if Hani doesn’t get out during the ceasefire, he will die as the war rages.

She said: “I have mixed emotions. I’m upset because of what happened with work, and on the other side I’m happy that Debbie has put something in writing to say that she’s asked the Foreign Office minister if the documents Hani has – electronic documents – is enough to help him get out, so he can get on the British list for evacuation.

“I’m feeling anxious until I hear from her now, and I’m praying that the Foreign Office agree to help save Hani and let him out.”

The health ministry in Hamas-ruled Gaza said it has resumed its detailed count of casualties, documenting more than 13,000 deaths since fighting began following Hamas’s attack on Israel on October 7, which triggered the war.

The Oldham Times: Afshan holding photos of her fiancé HaniAfshan holding photos of her fiancé Hani (Image: Jack Fifield, Newsquest)

Follow The Oldham Times on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube, and Threads.

Afshan said: “I understand that he’s not a British national, but I worked hard to meet the requirements for his visa and so did he.

"I’m praying to God to make the impossible possible, to help him out at Rafah.”

Afshan said she was not happy with the ceasefire only set to last a few days, saying she thought they needed more time to allow people to evacuate the north of the region and to clear rubble and find bodies.

She added: “It’s too much chaos, I think a couple of days is not going to make a massive difference. I’m not a selfish person, I’m not just thinking about my husband, I’m thinking about everyone else. Every human being deserves to live a life free of fear.”

Afshan now says she has new hope that Hani will get out alive.

She added: “I’ve been worried, I’ve been distressed because seeing images coming out from Gaza and seeing images my husband shared, and his stories, and him telling me what he’s going through.

“When I did connect to him I could hear the warplanes in the background and the bombs dropping. The amount of times he said to me ‘look, I’m sorry if I die’.

“It’s things you don’t want to hear. I’ve been feeling upset, but up until the time when Debbie put in words what she’s done, that gave me peace of mind that something is happening. When someone tells you something and when they write it to confirm, it’s two different things.

“In that regard I’m happy, she’s given us hope, and she was kind, she said to Hani to keep going too. I appreciate her. She’s someone who’s at least listening and trying.”

If you have a story, I cover the whole borough of Oldham. Please email me at