First foreigners leave Gaza as Egypt opens border crossing
A first group of foreign nationals was able to leave Gaza on Wednesday morning, said Raed Abdel-Nasser, secretary-general of the Egyptian Red Crescent in North Sinai. The opening of the Rafah border crossing was brokered by Qatar with Egypt, Israel and Hamas, in coordination with the US.
The foreign nationals are currently in the transit area of the crossing, awaiting completion of procedures to enter Egypt. In total, more than 550 foreigners and dual nationals will be allowed to leave Gaza. This includes at least one Belgian, VRT NWS reports.
Together with the foreigners, 88 wounded Palestinians, including 40 children, women and elderly people, will be allowed to leave Gaza. The children and some of the elderly will be accompanied. A spokesperson for the Hamas-controlled health ministry said Egypt had been given a list of names of 4,000 injured people who could no longer be cared for in Gaza. A field hospital is being built near the crossing.
Embassies report that civilians from 44 countries are still in Gaza. Along with more than 2.4 million Gazans, they are trying to survive during the ongoing Israeli bombardment, with no water, electricity, phone or internet, and little food. Until now, the Rafah crossing has only been used to allow humanitarian aid through.
© PHOTO MOHAMMED ABED / AFP