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Injured Palestinians cross Gaza border into Egypt, the first allowed out since Israel-Hamas war began

Hundreds of foreign nationals were also waiting at the Rafah border crossing in Gaza on Wednesday morning, hoping to enter Egypt, after a deal was reportedly brokered to bring them out.

The injured Palestinians are the first non-hostages allowed out of the enclave since Israel’s latest war with Hamas began three weeks ago.

Their exit follows a deal brokered by Qatar between Israel, Hamas and Egypt, in coordination with the US, that would allow for the release of foreign nationals and critically injured civilians from Gaza, according to sources familiar with the talks.

The agreement is separate from any hostage negotiations, the source added.

A Western official confirmed that Americans were not expected to be among the first batch exiting Wednesday. It was unclear exactly what day they would be allowed to leave, according to the official.

Footage from the scene showed a throng of ambulances at the Gaza side of the crossing, while images showed families waiting at the border with suitcases.

No timeline has been set on when they will begin moving, but British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said Wednesday that “the Rafah crossing is likely to open today for a first group of foreign nationals.”

In a post on social media, Cleverly said that “UK teams are ready to assist British nationals as soon as they are able to leave.”

More than two million people, half of them children, have been stranded inside the war-torn strip since Hamas’ deadly October 7 terror attack prompted Israel to close its borders with Gaza and launch an aerial campaign targeting the militant group that controls the enclave.

Among those stranded are hundreds of foreign and dual nationals.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) expanded its ground operations in Gaza on Friday, making the situation for civilians and foreign nationals who remain trapped in Gaza even more dangerous amid a marked increase in bombardments and fighting.

Negotiators have been working for weeks to evacuate foreign nationals out of Gaza, and allay Egypt’s concerns about refugees entering the country through the Rafah crossing in southwestern Gaza.

Located in Egypt’s north Sinai, the Rafah crossing is the sole border crossing between Gaza and Egypt. It falls along an 8-mile (12.8-kilometer) fence that separates Gaza from the Sinai desert.

With both border crossings between Gaza and Israel shut since Hamas’ deadly October 7 terror attacks, Rafah is the territory’s only entry point to the outside world.

But the crossing has been closed except for a few occasions when it opened to allow a limited amount of aid into Gaza.

This is a developing story and is being updated.

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