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The US is accusing Hamas of preventing American citizens and other foreign nationals from evacuating Gaza amidst an escalating Israeli offensive.
Jake Sullivan, the National Security Adviser, spoke on Sunday about the dire situation. He said, “Hamas is preventing civilians from leaving Gaza as Israel continues its bombardment. The Egyptians are ready to let American citizens and foreign nationals through the Rafah gate into Egypt. The Israelis agree with this approach. However, Hamas is setting demands for their release. I cannot detail these demands publicly, but they are central to our ongoing negotiations.”
There’s a rising concern for the estimated 600 Americans in Gaza, as they remain trapped with the broader population of 2 million, facing an intensifying war and dwindling basic necessities. As the conflict escalates, the US has pledged efforts to secure their exit.
This commitment comes amidst news from the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) about the expansion of its ground operations in Gaza, accompanied by augmented air and naval strikes. This escalation heightens worries about civilian casualties and the hostages held by Hamas, encompassing Israelis, Americans, and other international nationals.
Since the onset of the Israeli offensive earlier this month, the Gaza Health Ministry has reported over 8,000 casualties, predominantly women and children. Moreover, the conflict saw the death of more than 1,400 Israelis, primarily due to Hamas’s attacks initiated on Oct. 7.