U.S President, Joe Biden has announced on X that some American citizens will be departing Gaza on Wednesday, November 1, 2023.
He also hailed U.S leadership in efforts to help some Gazans and foreign nationals leave amid an escalating ground offensive.
Biden made the announcement as hundreds of dual passport holders and about eighty seriously injured Palestinians were allowed to leave Gaza via the Rafah crossing with Egypt on Wednesday.
Other than four hostages released by Hamas and another rescued by Israeli forces, the group were the first people to leave Gaza.
“We expect American citizens to exit today, and we expect to see mor depart over the coming days,” Biden said.
“We won’t let up working to get Americans out of Gaza,” he added.
Italians and French were among first foreign nationals to leave Gaza via the Rafah crossing.
According to Italy’s Foreign Minister, Antonio Tajani, four Italian nationals safely left the Gaza Strip.
“I just spoke to the first four Italians to leave the Gaza Strip. They are tired but in good condition, assisted by the Italian consul in Cairo. We continue to work to get all the others out,” Tajani noted in a post on social media.
Tajani disclosed that the four Italians include volunteers from international NGOs. One of them is married to a Palestinian woman.
A spokesperson for the ministry said 10 more Italian citizens remain inside the Gaza Strip, including two pregnant women who the ministry hopes will be released by the end of the week.
On the other hand, the French foreign ministry said in a statement that five French citizens left Gaza.
The ministry added that group was not accompanied by any non-French relatives or Palestinian workers from the French cultural center.
The citizens were received by a team from the French embassy in Egypt, it said.
Moreover, the Palestinian border authority in Gaza disclosed that Egypt will re-open the Rafah border crossing on Thursday, November 2, 2023, to allow foreigners to leave the strip,
In a statement on Facebook, the authority said that Egypt is allowing entry to only those who have pre-registered and whose names appear on a list of foreigners who began to leave Rafah earlier on Wednesday.
UN Secretary-General Appalled By Violence In Gaza
Stephane Dujarric, Spokesman for UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, stated that Guterres is “appalled over the escalating violence in Gaza, including the killing of Palestinians, including women and children, in Israeli air strikes in residential areas of the densely populated Jabalia refugee camp.”
This came as the Jabalia refugee camp was bombarded for a second time on Wednesday.
The camp, Gaza’s largest, was first hit on Tuesday, October 31, 2023.
Dujarric said that Guterres reiterated that all parties must abide by international humanitarian law, “including the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution.”
“He condemns in the strongest terms any killings of civilians,” Dujarric told reporters.
Earlier, Martin Griffiths, the UN humanitarian Chief, decried the attacks on the refugee camp.
“This is just the latest atrocity to befall the people of Gaza where the fighting has entered an even more terrifying phase – with increasingly dreadful humanitarian consequences,” Martin Griffiths, the UN humanitarian chief, said in a statement.
“The world seems unable, or unwilling, to act. This cannot go on. We need a step change.”
Meanwhile, Jordan recalled its Ambassador to Israel.
Jordan’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Ayman al-Safadi also directed his ministry to inform the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs not to return its ambassador, who had previously left the kingdom.
Ayman al-Safadi, said that the return of the ambassadors is linked to Israel “stopping its war on Gaza … and the humanitarian catastrophe it is causing.”
He warned of the potential of the conflict to spread, threatening “the security of the entire region.”