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Rafah crossing still closed for Americans fleeing Gaza, despite US-Egypt deal

The White House national security adviser said that an attempt by American citizens to pass through the Rafah crossing into Egypt failed due to Hamas' actions.
SAID KHATIB/AFP via Getty Images

Despite assurances from senior US officials on Sunday that Egypt has agreed to open Rafah crossing for nearly 600 Palestinian-Americans seeking to flee Gaza, latest reports on Sunday evening suggested it is still closed.

A ground source told Al-Monitor that by 9:15 pm local time, Rafah, the only crossing to exit Gaza was still closed. White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said earlier Sunday that Cairo had agreed to open the crossing but that Hamas’ actions have prevented Americans trapped in Gaza from leaving the Palestinian enclave.

"The Egyptians have in fact agreed to allow Americans to depart to get safe passage through the Rafah crossing. The Israelis agreed to ensure that the area around there would be safe, at least as far as they were able to do so," Sullivan told CNN. "The question when we tried to move a group yesterday was actually Hamas taking steps to try and stop that from happening." 

According to the US State Department, roughly 600 US citizens have been trapped in Gaza since Hamas’ unprecedented attack on Israel and the ensuing war, which has so far killed at least 2,506 Palestinians and 1,400 Israelis.

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