Egypt sets conditions for the exit of US and foreign citizens from Gaza; not until humanitarian aid reaches Palestinians.
Egyptian authorities have refused to allow US citizens and other foreign nationals to enter Egyptian territory through the Rafah border crossing on Saturday.
The authorities insisted that the border crossing must also facilitate the entry of humanitarian aid into Gaza, according to AlQahera News, a state-owned Egyptian news channel.
The AlQahera News channel reported that “the Egyptian authorities reject the idea of using Rafah border crossing for the exit of only foreigners from Gaza.”
“The Egyptian position is clear, and requires facilitating the entry and passage of aid into the Gaza Strip,” the channel quoted Egyptian sources as saying.
Palestinian Americans are awaiting the opening of the Rafah border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt on Saturday after the US State Department sent instructions to their families on Friday telling them that the crossing “may be open” on Saturday afternoon.
An email from the U.S. State Department told them the sole border crossing with Egypt “may be open” for a five-hour window later that day, from noon to 5 p.m.
“If you wish to leave Gaza you may want to take advantage of this opportunity,” the message said.
The U.S. government had negotiated a deal to allow American citizens to leave Gaza and cross into Egypt during the five-hour window, U.S. officials said Saturday.
But Palestinian and Egyptian officials failed to communicate about opening it, an official at the border said.
By the end of the day, no one had been able to cross.
Wael Abu Omar, the Palestinian spokesman for the Rafah crossing, said Palestinian officials had not had any communication with their counterparts on the Egyptian side.
Israel, meanwhile, has said it would strike any trucks coming across the border, especially trucks carrying fuel, and other humanitarian aid.