Rafah crossing, link between war-torn Gaza, Egypt opens

Thursday, November 2nd, 2023 01:20 | By
People enter the Rafah border crossing in the southern Gaza Strip before crossing into Egypt. PHOTO/Al Jazeera
People enter the Rafah border crossing in the southern Gaza Strip before crossing into Egypt. PHOTO/Al Jazeera

The Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt has opened for the first time since the Israel-Hamas war erupted.

More than 500 foreign nationals and dual citizens will be allowed to leave the enclave, the Gaza Borders and Crossings Authority said in a statement verified by Al Jazeera’s Sanad Agency.

The list of the people allowed to cross was published by the authority that called on them to head towards the crossing on Wednesday at 7am local time (05:00 GMT).

According to earlier reports, dozens of injured Palestinians needing medical treatment in Egypt will also be allowed to leave the enclave.

Convoys of desperately needed aid have been trickling in Gaza through Rafah since last month but no people had been allowed through the crossing until Wednesday.

Queues formed on Wednesday morning at the terminal. After being allowed into the terminal area, huge queues formed around crossing booths for checks on passports and other documents.

Ambulances waited on the Egyptian side to take away the wounded and sick. Al Jazeera’s Hatim Omar, reporting from the Rafah crossing, said ambulances were still waiting and nobody had been allowed to leave Gaza yet.

Trucks carrying aid were also waiting on the Egyptian side of the crossing, he said.

The zone around the terminal has been hit during Israeli air raids on Gaza after the October 7 attacks which Israeli authorities say killed more than 1,400 people, mostly civilians. Another 240 people were taken captive.

Some of those being taken out for treatment in Egyptian hospitals are among more than 15,000 wounded in Israeli air raids, which Gaza’s Ministry of Health says have killed more than 8,500 people, two-thirds of them women and children.

Israeli military incursions into Gaza and the West Bank have continued overnight, killing and injuring dozens.

A dozen people were reported killed during an air raid early on Wednesday in Gaza’s second-largest city Khan Younis. At least five Palestinians were killed and a senior Fatah leader was arrested in overnight raids in the occupied West Bank.

At about dawn, Israeli forces targeted two residential buildings in Khan Younis in the south of Gaza, where many have sought refuge after the Israeli army ordered the evacuation of the northern part of the besieged territory.

Medical sources told Al Jazeera 12 people died in the attack, and that more than two dozen were wounded.
Multiple Israeli raids were also staged overnight in the West Bank, where at least five more Palestinians were killed, bringing the death toll in the region to 130 since October, the Palestinian health ministry said.

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