In a humanitarian effort, Egypt has announced plans to assist in the evacuation of approximately 7,000 foreigners and dual nationals from the Gaza Strip. The Egyptian Foreign Ministry disclosed this initiative following the first evacuations from the southern regions of the Palestinian territory.
On Thursday, the Ministry of Health reported that 21 wounded Palestinians were transferred to Egyptian hospitals for urgent treatment. Additionally, 344 foreigners, including 72 children, safely crossed the Rafah border terminal.
Deputy Foreign Minister Ismail Khairat revealed Egypt’s commitment to facilitating the reception and evacuation of foreign citizens from Gaza through the Rafah crossing. The evacuees, representing over 60 nationalities, were expected to benefit from this assistance, although specific details and timelines of the evacuation plan were not disclosed.
Ambulances transporting the wounded arrived sporadically, while an Egyptian official at the Rafah crossing confirmed that 60 injured individuals and 400 people holding foreign passports were anticipated to pass through on the same day.
Hicham Adwan, the director of the crossing on the Palestinian side, stated that approximately 100 wounded Palestinians and 400 foreigners and dual nationals were expected to cross the border on that day.
The previous day marked a significant milestone as 76 Palestinians, including 46 wounded individuals and their 30 companions, along with 361 foreigners and dual nationals, were successfully evacuated through the Rafah crossing. Among the evacuees were citizens from various countries, including around thirty Austrians, four Italians, five French, and a few Germans.
US President Joe Biden also confirmed the evacuation of 74 dual nationals holding US passports from the Gaza Strip.
This evacuation effort comes amid the ongoing conflict in the region, with the Gaza Strip enduring relentless shelling by Israel in response to attacks by the Palestinian Islamist movement, Hamas, on Israeli soil since October 7. The humanitarian situation in Gaza is dire, with the United Nations and NGOs describing it as catastrophic. According to the Hamas Ministry of Health, the conflict has resulted in the tragic loss of lives, with 9,061 people, including 3,760 children, killed in the Gaza Strip since the conflict’s onset. In Israel, over 1,400 people, mostly civilians, lost their lives during the Hamas attack on Israeli soil on October 7, as reported by the authorities.