Foreign nationals and injured Palestinians allowed to flee Gaza for first time since Israel-Hamas war began
Since the beginning of the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza, foreign nationals and injured Palestinians have been allowed to flee the area for the first time. Over the weekend, the Israeli Defence Forces granted safe passage to 40 foreign nationals and injured Palestinians, who were escorted by the Red Cross to the Rafah crossing on the Gaza-Egypt border.
The move came after the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) urged the Israeli government to allow safe passage out of Gaza for those who wanted to leave, due to the unacceptable living conditions inside the Strip. Among those that escaped were journalists, humanitarian workers, medical professionals and family members of those on the receiving end of bombing.
The Israeli government has said it regularly grants permission to foreign nationals and injured Palestinians to exit Gaza, though reports suggest that such authorisations have been rare since the war began. The recent move is seen as a step towards greater humanitarian relief for those trapped in the conflict.
The United Nations (UN) and human rights groups have criticized Israel for its military actions in Gaza, which they say have disproportionately affected civilians. The UN has called for an end to hostilities on both sides and the establishment of a lasting ceasefire.