Israel-Hamas War News: Days of Israeli Airstrikes Leave Vast Destruction in Jabaliya | ET REALITY


As people waited at the Rafah crossing on Thursday in anticipation of a second day of evacuations from Gaza to Egypt, the sound of an airstrike shook the crowd and a piece of shrapnel appeared to fall in the area.

The explosion was just another sign that, for many, the journey to safety was one of the riskiest endeavors they had undertaken in Gaza.

“Getting to the Rafah crossing was the most dangerous journey of my entire life,” Ala Al Husseini, 61, an Austrian citizen who evacuated on Wednesday, wrote in a text message from the bus that took him from Rafah to Cairo. .

Reached by phone on Thursday after arriving in Cairo, he said he had been unable to find taxis or people to take him to the border because of fuel shortages in the Gaza Strip and because phones were not working. He eventually found a ride, but he and the driver were terrified as they drove from central Gaza through the enclave’s empty streets.

Al Husseini said he feared that simply being next to a place Israel considered a Hamas target could lead to his death. “There could be collateral damage at any time,” he said. “He was scared to death.”

The Gaza border crossing authority released the names of about 600 more foreign nationals who it said would be allowed to leave through the Rafah crossing on Thursday. The list included 400 Americans, as well as people from Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belgium, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, South Korea, Sri Lanka and Switzerland.

Photos from Gaza showed dozens of people waiting at the crossing, and Egyptian television showed people pushing luggage carts to the other side of the checkpoint.

Al Husseini said the scene at the border was chaotic. Officers were processing names manually, he said, and people who were not among the few hundred people allowed to leave were in the crowd, some of whom were trying to leave.

Relatives of those able to evacuate were sometimes prohibited from leaving because they did not have foreign citizenship or the necessary documents, forcing people to make difficult decisions.

Adala Abu Middain, a Palestinian with Egyptian citizenship, went to the crossing Thursday with her sister, Dalal, and six-year-old daughter, Maha, who have American citizenship, she said. But she said that when they arrived at the intersection they were told that the niece could not leave.

“We only want one thing: to help us get out of Gaza,” Abu Middain said.

It was unclear what the holdup was and the U.S. Embassy in Cairo did not immediately respond to a request for clarification.

Matthew Miller, a State Department spokesman, said Wednesday that about 400 Americans in Gaza had expressed a desire to leave, but that the government would also help their family members who wanted to flee, for a total of about 1,000 people. Still, some names were not on Thursday’s list.

Mkhaimar Abu Sada, 58, an associate professor of political science at Al-Azhar University in Gaza, accompanied his two sons, both in their 20s, at the Rafah crossing on Thursday. He said they had US citizenship, but he was not allowed to leave because he only has a US green card. His wife and three other children are not Americans and will also stay.

He hopes that eventually everyone can get out. “The situation is more than catastrophic and even beyond imagination,” she said. “The death, the bombings, the bloodshed.”

Lena Beseiso, 57, an American who had repeatedly arrived at the crossing only to find it closed, finally crossed it Thursday with her family. But her feelings were bittersweet.

“It’s very sad that we have to leave all those innocent people behind,” he said in a voice note.

Iyad Abuheweila and Anna Betts contributed with reports.

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