Israel-Hamas war: US citizens among first foreigners to leave Gaza into Egypt

EL ARISH, EGYPT - NOVEMBER 1: An ambulance with a patient from the Gaza Strip drives toward El Arish General Hospital on November 1, 2023 in El Arish, Egypt. For the first time since the outbreak of war between Israel and Hamas on Oct. 7, the Egypt-Gaza crossing at Rafah was opened to allow a small number of wounded people and foreign nationals to enter Egypt. The wounded are being brought to hospitals in the area, and a field hospital is being constructed nearby. (Photo by Ali Moustafa/Getty Images)

For the first time since Oct. 7 when Hamas attacked Israel, hundreds of foreign passport holders including Americans and some wounded Palestinians who have been trapped in Gaza have started leaving the area Wednesday after the Rafah border crossing opened to Egypt.

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United States State Department spokesman Matt Miller said Americans have left Gaza through the Rafah border and arrived in Egypt on Wednesday, according to The Washington Post. It happened after weeks of negotiations between Hamas, Israel and Egypt.

The total number of Americans that got through the border is unknown but Miller said, according to the Post, that about 400 Americans are wanting to leave Gaza as well as their family members.

“An initial group of foreign nationals, including U.S. citizens, departed Gaza through Rafah today, and we expect exits of U.S. citizens and foreign nationals to continue over the next several days,” Miller said, according to The Associated Press.

“In the past 24 hours we have informed U.S. citizens and their family and family members with whom we are in contact that they will be assigned specific departure dates. We’ve asked them to continue to monitor their email regularly over the next 24 to 72 hours for specific instructions about how to exit,” Miller said, according to the AP.

Reuters reported, according to CBS News, that at least 320 foreign passport holders have crossed from Gaza into Egypt.