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US says helped 400 citizens, relatives out of Gaza

UN agency warns of 'deliberate attempt' to 'paralyse' its Gaza operations
Source: Video Screenshot

The United States said Tuesday it has assisted 400 of its citizens, residents and their relatives to leave the war-battered Gaza Strip after the reopening of a crossing into Egypt.

“We have assisted more than 400 US citizens, lawful permanent residents and other eligible individuals to depart Gaza,” State Department spokesman Vedant Patel said, an update from a weekend figure of some 300 leaving.

It was unclear how many other Americans were still waiting to leave.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken told a Senate hearing last week that the United States was tracking some 400 US citizens and another 600 of their family members who were seeking to leave Gaza.

Their plight became a key priority for Washington, with Palestinian-American groups suing the State Department alleging double standards after evacuations of Israeli-Americans.

President Joe Biden on November 1 publicly hailed the first departures of Americans which came after diplomacy with Egypt and Qatar, which has relations with Hamas, the Islamist movement that runs the blockaded Gaza Strip.

The crossing was closed again on Saturday and Sunday over a dispute on the passage of ambulances.

The Israeli military has relentlessly bombarded Gaza and is scaling up ground operations in response to the October 7 attack by Hamas militants, who killed 1,400 people in Israel, most of them civilians, and seized around 240 hostages, according to Israeli authorities.

The Hamas-run health ministry has said the death toll in Gaza has surpassed 10,300 people, also mostly civilians.

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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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