Hundreds of American nationals who have been trapped for weeks in Gaza are now being allowed to evacuate to Egypt as Israeli ground troops advance on the Palestinian territory's largest city.
Gazan authorities said they've added 600 people to a list of individuals holding foreign passports who are eligible to escape through the Rafah crossing. Among those on the list are some 400 Americans.
National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Thursday afternoon that 74 U.S. citizens and family members arrived safely in Egypt so far, in addition to five who departed Gaza a day earlier. But hundreds of U.S. dual nationals still remain trapped in Gaza.
It's important to note that the deal permitting this does not include any of the 240 hostages Hamas has been holding since the war broke out more than three weeks ago. Israel has also denied a request by Hamas to allow some of its injured fighters to be allowed into Egypt to receive treatment.
The opening of the border crossing comes after air strikes hit a Palestinian refugee camp for a second time this week as Israeli forces advance deeper into Gaza.
Egyptian officials have been highly reticent about allowing Palestinian refugees into their country amid worries that Israel won't allow them back into Gaza after the war, despite insurances from Israel stating that they will allow them to return to Gaza after they've been treated.
Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians remain stuck in the line of fire in northern Gaza as Israel continues to bombard the region. A recent strike by Israel intended to target a Hamas commander in the dense northern city of Jabaliya caused massive destruction — including to a refugee camp, where a large number of casualties were reported.
What Scripps News observed became what the Israel Defense Forces would later call "intensified attacks" on the northern Gaza Strip.
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