Numerous foreign passport holders who were stranded in Gaza have begun to leave the war-torn region. On Wednesday, the Rafah border crossing to Egypt was opened for the first time since the October 7 Hamas attacks, according to reports from AFP correspondents. Convoys of vital aid have been moving between Egypt and Gaza, but until now, people had not been permitted to cross. Approximately 400 foreign passport holders and dual nationals, as well as around 90 sick and injured individuals, were expected to depart on Wednesday.
Qatar played a mediating role in brokering an agreement among Egypt, Israel, and Hamas, with the coordination of the United States, to allow the movement of foreign passport holders and critically injured individuals out of the besieged Gaza Strip, according to a source briefed on the deal. However, there is currently no specified timeframe for how long the Rafah crossing will remain open for evacuation, as per the same source.
Medical sources reported that Egypt has established a field hospital in Sheikh Zuwayed in the Sinai, with ambulances visible at the Rafah crossing to facilitate the evacuation.
Importantly, the agreement reached does not address other ongoing negotiations, such as the release of hostages held by Hamas, or the temporary halts aimed at alleviating the humanitarian crisis in the region, characterised by shortages of food, water, fuel, and medical supplies.