Gaza war: First batch of evacuees reach Egypt after Rafah crossing reopens

Hours after the reopening of Rafah border crossing on November 12, the first batch of evacuees from the besieged Gaza Strip reached Egypt. The border crossing was closed for nearly two days since November 10.

The group that entered into the neighbouring Muslim-majority country comprised of seven injured Gaza residents, along with more than 80 foreign nationals and their dependents, news agency Reuters reported, citing sources.

The injured Palestinians are expected to be admitted at medical facilities in Egypt for treatment.

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The border crossing, which became operational on November 1 for evacuating foreign passport holders and transporting medical and food aid to the besieged population of Gaza, was temporarily closed since November 10 due to issues related to the transportation of injured Palestinians from northern Gaza.

With the border crossing reopening today, around 80 aid trucks arrived in the Gaza Strip from Egypt, Reuters learnt from sources.

Also Read: Israel-Hamas war: Communication lost with Gaza’s Al-Shifa Hospital, says WHO

Infant lives at risk

The intensification of clashes between Israeli troops and Hamas near Al-Shifa, the biggest hospital of Gaza, has posed risks to the lives of several patients, including infants.

Israel has offered to evacuate the babies admitted in the hospital, but has not shared a detailed plan. The evacuation would be carried out at the request of the hospital staff, Israel’s chief military spokesperson, Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, reportedly said.

The Gaza Health Ministry has claimed that three children have already died out of the 45 admitted, as operations at the neonatal intensive care unit stopped due to the absence of electricity.

Ashraf Al-Qidra, the ministry spokesperson, told Reuters from inside the hospital that the Israeli offensive did not directly strike the medical facility overnight. However, their action was “terrorising medical officials and civilians alike”, he said.

On Israel’s offer to evacuate the babies, Al-Qidra claimed that they have not received any communication so far. “We have not been informed about any mechanism to get the babies out to a safer hospital. So far we are praying for their safety and not to lose more of them,” he was quoted as saying.

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Updated: 12 Nov 2023, 09:44 PM IST

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