The Rafah crossing to Egypt opened for the first time since the October 7 Hamas attacks, allowing scores of foreign passport holders trapped in Gaza to leave the war-torn territory, as reported by AFP correspondents.
Convoys of desperately needed aid have passed between Egypt and Gaza but no people have been allowed to cross. Some 400 foreigners and dual nationals along with some 90 sick and wounded were expected to leave on Wednesday.
Qatar earlier mediated an agreement between Egypt, Israel and Hamas, in coordination with the US, to allow for the movement of foreign passport holders and some critically injured people out of besieged Gaza, a source briefed on deal told Reuters on Wednesday.
The agreement would allow the movement of foreign passport holders and some critically injured people through the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza, though there is no timeline for how long the Rafah crossing will remain open for evacuation, the source added.
The agreement is not linked to other issues under negotiation such as the hostages held by Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist group that governs Gaza, or pauses designed to ease a humanitarian crisis in the enclave which is suffering from food, water, fuel and medical shortages, said the source.
Israel sent its forces into Gaza following weeks of air bombardments in retaliation for a major attack by Iran-backed Hamas on Oct 7.
Hamas has told mediators it will soon release some of the 200 or so foreign captives it had taken during the attack on Israel, Abu Ubaida, the spokesperson of the group’s armed wing, Al-Qassam Brigades, said in a video on the Telegram app on Tuesday. He gave no further details on the number of captives or their nationalities.