Foreign Passport Holders Allowed to Leave Gaza Amidst Israel-Gaza Conflict

The crucial Rafah border crossing in southern Gaza has opened for the first time since Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel and the ensuing retaliatory siege and aerial bombardment. (AP Photo/Hatem Ali)

In a notable development, dozens of foreign passport holders were seen crossing from Gaza into Egypt at the Rafah border crossing. This event marked the first instance of foreign nationals being allowed to exit the besieged Gaza Strip since the onset of the Israel-Gaza conflict more than three weeks ago. A journalist from the Associated Press captured the scene, showing a continuous stream of individuals, some carrying suitcases and backpacks, and others even driving cars with luggage spilling from open trunks. In a rather unconventional move, one group utilized a donkey to transport their belongings as they approached the border crossing. However, there remains uncertainty regarding their immediate entry into the Egyptian side of the crossing.

This development comes after several weeks of tension and disagreements involving Egypt, Israel, and Hamas, which had prevented the departure of many foreign passport holders who sought to leave Gaza. The Rafah crossing has been a focal point of these disputes. In addition to facilitating this border movement, Egypt has made preparations for a field hospital in Sheikh Zuwayed, situated in the Sinai region. This hospital is poised to receive and provide medical care to those injured during the ongoing conflict, underlining the significant humanitarian challenges posed by the Israel-Gaza war. The crossing’s opening offers a glimmer of hope for those seeking refuge or reprieve from the ongoing turmoil in the region.