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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - Palestinians gather at the site of a collapsed and damaged buildings following an Israeli airstrike in Rafah, in the southern of Gaza Strip, on October 16, 2023. — AFP pic
RAFAH, Oct 16 — Hundreds of Palestinians with dual nationality waited today at Gaza’s shuttered Rafah crossing with Egypt, hoping to leave the blockaded enclave where war between Israel and Hamas militants has raged for days.
Both warring parties denied earlier Monday any talks of a humanitarian truce or of opening the border at Rafah, Gaza’s only crossing point which Israel does not control.
“We have been at the border for three days,” Palestinian-German national Ahmad al-Qassas told AFP. Others said they had waited at the crossing for at least a week.
“More and more people are coming here for safety, but... nowhere is really safe,” Qassas said.
In front of the crossing’s gates, an AFP correspondent saw hundreds of Palestinians including families with children.
“We hope the international community, embassies and our Egyptian brothers would let us enter” neighbouring Egypt, said Qassas.
Following a Hamas attack on Israeli communities and army bases near the Gaza border on October 7, Israel has suspended water, electricity and fuel supply into the Strip, and Israeli forces have pummelled the narrow enclave with air strikes and artillery.
Water supply resumed Sunday, but harsh conditions persist in the impoverished Gaza Strip where more than one million people have been displaced within a week, according to the United Nations.
The Rafah crossing shut since October 10, after three Israeli air strikes on the Palestinian border post within 24 hours.
Gaza, controlled by Hamas, has been under an air, land and sea blockade by Israel since 2006.
Palestinian-Danish woman Etaf al-Rai told AFP that European nations “should raise the voice for human rights”.
“I want to cross,” she said. “I don’t even have clothes with me. I just left with a bag in order to be safe.”
Gaza residents normally require special permits and a hefty fee to be able to cross from Rafah into Egypt.
“We have been at the border for seven or eight days,” said Osama Abu Samhadana, an Egyptian national.
“We have been sleeping at the border... without any help.”
At least 1,400 have been killed in Israel since Hamas fighters last week broke through the militarised border barrier and shot, stabbed and burned to death mostly civilians, as well as security forces.
Israel has responded with relentless bombing on Gaza, killing around 2,750 people, the majority ordinary Palestinians. — AFP
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