The first foreign nationals and wounded residents of the Gaza Strip entered Egypt on Wednesday through the Rafah border crossing, as Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly takes a hardline stance on protecting his country’s border.
About 80 injured people are expected to be transported to Egypt for treatment in hospitals, according to state-run Al Qahera News.
Hundreds of foreign passport holders are also trying to leave through the Rafa crossing into Egypt as part of negotiations between Israel, Egypt, Hamas, the United States and Qatar, The New York Times reported.
It is unclear whether anyone leaving is an American citizen. On Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said: “We have about 400 American citizens and their family members, so it’s roughly 1,000 people who are stuck in Gaza and want to get out. I’m focused on this intensely.”
The decision to allow foreign nationals and some wounded to leave comes after the Egyptian prime minister said his country would go to extreme lengths to protect its land.
“We are prepared to sacrifice millions of lives to ensure that no one encroaches upon our territory,” Madbouly told government officials in Sinai on Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Madbouly also said that Egypt would never allow regional issues to be settled at its expense.
Diaa Rashwan, head of Egypt’s State Information Service, said Tuesday during a press conference at the Rafah crossing, as translated: “Egypt confirms clearly, frankly and strictly that it never accepts the deportation or displacement of any Palestinian brother into Egyptian territory.”
Rashwan also claimed: “Everything that happens in Gaza does not happen against regular forces, but rather against resistance, which is recognized by international law and recognizes the right to legitimate defense. Resistance is the right of all peoples.”
Egypt has kept the Rafah border crossing closed to civilians since Hamas, the terrorist group that was elected to govern the Gaza Strip, invaded Israel on Oct. 7, killing more than 1,400 people, including at least 31 U.S. citizens. Israeli forces subsequently entered Gaza, and the Hamas-run Health Ministry claims that its death toll is more than 8,000.