(TheIndependentStar.com) – In a critical development, troops stationed at the Rafah border crossing, the juncture between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, recently initiated a significant operation. Although individuals with critical medical conditions and foreign passport holders were permitted to depart from Gaza, more than 500 American citizens remain stranded in enemy territory.
The news comes amidst a challenging situation in the Hamas-governed territory since hostilities commenced on October 7 following Hamas’s unexpected attack on Israel.
In a statement, Joe Biden announced, “Today, thanks to American leadership, we secured safe passage for wounded Palestinians and for foreign nationals to exit Gaza. We expect American citizens to exit today, and we expect to see more depart over the coming days.”
According to Reuters, approximately 600 foreign nationals were anticipated to traverse the border crossing. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby informed the press that a small group of Americans was expected among them. “This is just the first step in what we consider to be a multistep process that will unfold over coming days,” Kirby elucidated.
State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller also confirmed the exit of American passport holders from Gaza, though he refrained from specifying the number. “There are a number of American citizens who have crossed through Rafah and are in Egypt today,” Miller told the media.
Earlier in the week, an email from the State Department, as seen by the New York Times, indicated to American citizens in Gaza that “limited departures from Gaza may begin this week,” with expectations of continued border crossings in the subsequent days.
Following inquiries from National Review, the State Department affirmed these arrangements. A department spokesperson explained, “We have informed U.S. citizens and family members with whom we are in contact that they will be assigned specific departure dates. We have asked U.S. citizens to continue to monitor their email regularly over the next 24 to 72 hours for specific instructions.”
The reopening of the Rafah border crossing is the result of intense diplomatic efforts involving the United States, Israel, Hamas, Qatar, and Egypt. While the precise details of these negotiations remain undisclosed, it is expected that foreign passport holders, international aid workers, and those with severe injuries will be granted passage.