Egypt will help evacuate “about 7,000” foreigners and dual nationals from the war-ravaged Gaza Strip, the country’s foreign ministry said, with the Egyptian Health Ministry announcing hundreds of new arrivals were processed Thursday.
The health ministry said 21 wounded Palestinians were brought out for treatment in Egyptian hospitals Thursday, and “344 foreign nationals, including 72 children” also passed through the Rafah border crossing.
It was the second day that Egypt had opened the crossing to let people out of Gaza after a first on Wednesday.
In a meeting with foreign diplomats, assistant Egyptian Foreign Minister Ismail Khairat said Egypt was preparing “to facilitate the reception and evacuation of foreign citizens from Gaza through the Rafah crossing,” a ministry statement said.
Khairat said that involved “about 7,000” people of “more than 60” nationalities, but the statement offered no specific timeline.
Among the foreign and dual nationals who crossed on Wednesday were 31 Austrians, four Italians, five French nationals and some Germans, their governments said.
In the US, President Joe Biden said Thursday that 74 American citizens and their relatives had been evacuated from the Strip.
Ambulances carrying the injured have only trickled in, after an official on the Egyptian side of the crossing said 60 were expected to cross Thursday, in addition to “400 people holding foreign passports.”
The Egyptian official said a total of 361 foreigners and dual nationals escaped Gaza on Wednesday, revising an earlier figure of 335. He said 46 seriously wounded people were evacuated, along with 30 people accompanying them.
War erupted after Hamas’s October 7 massacre, which saw some 3,000 terrorists burst across the border into Israel from the Gaza Strip by land, air and sea, killing some 1,400 people and seizing 200-250 hostages of all ages under the cover of a deluge of thousands of rockets fired at Israeli towns and cities. The vast majority of those killed as gunmen seized border communities were civilians — including babies, children and the elderly. Entire families were executed in their homes, and over 260 were slaughtered at an outdoor festival, many amid horrific acts of brutality by the terrorists.
Israel says its offensive is aimed at destroying Hamas’s infrastructure, and has vowed to eliminate the entire terror group, which rules the Strip. It says it is targeting all areas where Hamas operates, while seeking to minimize civilian casualties. According to the Hamas-run health ministry, the IDF offensive has killed more than 9,000 people, and nearly 23,000 wounded, since fighting erupted. The figures cannot be independently verified, and are believed to include both civilians and Hamas members, as well as Gazans killed or wounded as a consequence of terror groups’ own rocket misfires.