Rafah crossing reopens for pre-approved foreign evacuees

November 6, 2023

Rafah, the only border crossing between Egypt and Gaza opened for several hours Monday to allow passage to a pre-approved list of Egyptians and foreigners.

This past Wednesday foreign passport holders were allowed passage into Egypt through Rafah for the first time since Hamas’ massive October 7 surprise attack on Israel sparked war in Gaza. Ambulances carrying dozens of wounded were also allowed passage.

Since then, more than 70 Americans have been among the hundreds of foreigners who’ve fled Gaza through Rafah—though roughly 400 Americans were approved last week for passage, according to the State Department.

However, on Saturday humanitarian activity at the border ceased after an Israeli airstrike hit an ambulance in Gaza and led Egyptian sources to slow the crossing of aid trucks. 

On Monday, the Rafah border authority said that no one who was not on a pre-approved list by Egyptian and Israeli authorities would be allowed through, citing Egyptian officials.

Two security sources said Egypt was also seeking to increase the amount of aid flowing into Gaza, including fuel, which Israel has refused to allow. According to reports, Israel wants to see each fuel tanker accompanied by a United Nations monitor team to ensure it goes to Gaza hospitals and not Hamas.

Egypt, meanwhile, has been seeking guarantees for the safety of ambulances through Rafah, including escorts from the International Committee of the Red Cross.

PHOTO: Rafah border crossing in 2012

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