Qatar brokers deal for limited Gaza evacuations: source
Qatar has mediated an agreement between Egypt, Israel and Hamas, in co-ordination with the US, to allow for the movement of foreign passport holders and some critically injured people out of besieged Gaza, a source briefed on deal told Reuters.
The agreement would allow the movement of foreign passport holders and some critically injured people through the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza, though there is no timeline for how long the Rafah crossing will remain open for evacuation, the source added.
The agreement is not linked to other issues under negotiation such as the hostages held by Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist group that governs Gaza, or pauses designed to ease a humanitarian crisis in the enclave which is suffering from food, water, fuel and medical shortages, said the source.
Israel sent its forces into Gaza following weeks of air bombardments in retaliation for a major attack by Iran-backed Hamas on October 7.
Hamas has told mediators it will soon release some of the 200 or so foreign captives it had taken during the attack on Israel, Abu Ubaida, the spokesperson of the group’s armed wing, al-Qassam Brigades, said in a video on the Telegram app.
He gave no further details on the number of captives or their nationalities.
Egypt has prepared a field hospital in Sheikh Zuwayed in the Sinai, according to medical sources. Ten ambulances were sent to Rafah on Tuesday in anticipation.
Israel besieged Gaza after the Hamas attack, and the UN and other aid officials have said civilians in the enclave are living in a public health catastrophe, with hospitals struggling to treat casualties as electricity supplies peter out.
On Wednesday, communications and internet services were completely cut off in the enclave again, Gaza’s largest telecommunications provider Paltel said.
Israel has vowed to annihilate Hamas after several inconclusive wars dating back to the militant group’s 2007 takeover of Gaza. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has dismissed international calls for a “humanitarian pause” in fighting to enable emergency aid deliveries to civilians.Reuters