| 25 July 2024, Thursday |

First evacuees leave Gaza as Israeli offensive intensifies

As Israeli forces continued their war against Hamas militants in the Palestinian enclave, a first group of injured evacuees from Gaza crossed into Egypt on Wednesday under a deal mediated by Qatar, according to Egyptian local media and a source at the border.

Ambulances were used to transport the evacuees across the border at Rafah. A few of foreigners and those with serious injuries will be permitted to evacuate the besieged area in accordance with the agreement made by Egypt, Israel, and Hamas.

The deal followed another day of bloodshed in Gaza in which an Israeli air strike killed about 50 people in a refugee camp, according to Palestinian health officials. Israel said the attack killed a senior Hamas commander and many other combatants.

Communications and internet services were completely cut off in Gaza again on Wednesday, telecommunications provider Paltel said.

Israel sent its forces into Hamas-controlled Gaza following weeks of air and artillery bombardments in retaliation for a deadly attack by the Islamist group on southern Israel on Oct 7.

Israel has vowed to wipe out Hamas. But the civilian death toll in Gaza and the desperate humanitarian conditions have caused great concern across the world as food, fuel, drinking water and medicine run short and hospitals struggle to treat casualties.

An Egyptian security source said that up to 500 foreign passport holders will pass the Rafah border crossing on Wednesday. About 200 people were waiting at the Palestinian side of the border on Wednesday morning, the source said.

A second source said not all were expected to make it out on Wednesday. There was no timeline for how long it will remain open for evacuation, they added.

  • Reuters