Hundreds of Americans are evacuating the Gaza Strip through Egypt on Thursday as the conflict between Israel and Hamas deepens, according to multiple reports.
Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has ramped up airstrikes and sent ground troops into the northern Gaza region in retaliation against Hamas, which has killed over 1,400 Israelis and kidnapped hundreds of civilians starting on Oct. 7. Roughly 400 Americans who have been stuck in Gaza since conflict broke out are evacuating through the Rafah border crossing in Egypt on Thursday, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Their exit comes one day after hundreds of foreign nationals, including dual-citizen Palestinians, evacuated Gaza through Egypt on Wednesday, The Washington Post reported. The IDF has called for civilians to evacuate the northern region of Gaza and move as far south as possible since it began its counteroffensive after the initial Oct. 7 Hamas attacks.
The Biden administration has been negotiating with Israel, Hamas and Egypt, which borders Israel and Gaza to the south, to evacuate civilians through the Rafah crossing. Cairo has agreed to allow Americans and foreign citizens to exit Gaza through Rafah but rejected the notion of allowing Palestinians, hundreds of thousands of which have been displaced by the conflict, to seek refuge in Egypt, according to Reuters.
“That is a red line,” Jordan’s King Abdullah said on Oct. 17. “No refugees in Jordan, no refugees in Egypt.”
The Biden administration raised concerns to Israeli leadership that its counteroffensive against Hamas is bringing Gaza civilians into the fray and creating a humanitarian crisis in the region. The administration has called for a “pause” in the conflict to allow aid to enter Gaza and recover more hostages from Hamas.
“I think we need a pause,” Biden said at a campaign event in Minnesota on Wednesday. “A pause means give time to get the prisoners out. … This is incredibly complicated for the Israelis. I can thoroughly understand the emotions on the Palestinian side of the argument and the Jewish side of the argument.”
The White House and IDF did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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