🔴 Dr. Adam Hamawy and pharmacist Ghada AbuKuwaik volunteered for two weeks in Gaza

🔴 The New Jersey residents were unable to return after Israel's attack on Rafah

🔴 AbuKuwaik has returned home while Hamawy left on Tuesday

A pharmacist and doctor from New Jersey who volunteered for a two-week mission to a hospital in Gaza have finally both left.

Dr. Adam Hamawy of Princeton and pharmacist Ghada AbuKuwaik from Paterson were part of a group of 35 international medical professionals, including 22 Americans, trapped in Gaza at European Hospital after Israel seized the main crossing into Egypt and sealed off their way out.

On Friday, days after the teams were supposed to leave, talks between U.S. and Israeli authorities yielded results and some of the doctors were able to get out of Gaza.

Hamawy initially chose to remain, according to a message on the Palestinian Medical Association Facebook page. He said that when the group got the call to evacuate, he could not leave his team behind.

“That is not what I was taught. That is not the Soldier's Creed. We don’t leave Americans behind. This is against our values as Americans,” the former Army doctor wrote.

Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-N.J. 12th District, said in a statement she was "deeply relieved " that Hamawy was safely evacuated.

"Immensely grateful to Sen. Duckworth for her and her team's around-the-clock efforts to get Dr. Hamawy safely on his way home to New Jersey," Watson Coleman said on her X account. "It is absolutely imperative that humanitarian aid workers be allowed to travel into and out of Gaza without undue restrictions."

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"Beyond relieved"

U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Illinois, had been pushing the White House to get the group home. Duckworth credits Hamawy with saving her life when, as a military helicopter pilot in Iraq in 2004, she was hit by an RPG causing injuries that cost her both her legs.

She wrote on her X account Tuesday morning that Hamawy is finally headed home.

"Beyond relieved that Dr. Hamawy—and his entire team—safely left Gaza today and that he will be able to see his family again soon," the Democrat wrote. "Grateful to President Biden for his coordination and attention as we worked to secure this evacuation.

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Ghada AbuKuwaik is a pharmacist from Paterson, NJ, and is among the aid workers trapped in Gaza due to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas. Palestinian American Medical Association
Ghada AbuKuwaik is a pharmacist from Paterson, NJ, and is among the aid workers trapped in Gaza due to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas.
Palestinian American Medical Association

Ready to return

AbuKuwaik has already made it home. She told CBS New York that the group that chose to leave was only given a few weeks notice to prepare for evacuation by U.S. Embassy personnel.

AbuKuwaik, who is the head pharmacist and CEO of CureMed Pharmacy, told CBS New York she is glad to be home with her six children. But she said her work was not done in the war-torn area and she was already planning her return.

Israel says around 100 hostages are still captive by Hamas in Gaza, along with the bodies of around 30 more. Israel Defense Forces member Edan Alexander of Tenafly, who was taken hostage on Oct. 7, 2023 hours after Hamas' attack on Israel, remains unaccounted for.

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Edan Alexander at his high school graduation in 2022
Edan Alexander at his high school graduation in 2022 (Office of Rep. Josh Gottheimer)

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