Evacuations of injured Gazans and foreign passport holders through the Rafah crossing to Egypt have been suspended since Saturday, two Egyptian security sources and a medical source told Reuters.
One of the security sources and the medical source said the evacuations were suspended after an Israeli strike on Friday on an ambulance in Gaza being used to transport injured people.
The Rafah crossing to Egypt’s Sinai peninsula is the only exit point from Gaza not controlled by Israel. Aid trucks were still able to travel into the territory, two of the sources said.
Evacuations began on Wednesday under an internationally brokered deal aimed at letting some foreign passport holders, their dependents and some wounded Gazans out of the enclave. Unlike on previous days, the Gazan border authority on Sunday did not publish a list of approved foreign passport holders and dependents.
Hundreds of people have been evacuated in coordination with their home countries, along with dozens of injured Gazans who are receiving medical assistance in hospitals in Sinai.
Qatar, which has played a major role in facilitating humanitarian aid and hostage releases, said it was doing its best to resume the operation of the crucial exit but there was no timeline for when the crossing would re-activate.
“The bombing of hospitals and the bombing of ambulances, which are part of this agreement for ambulance convoys to move patients out of harm’s way, certainly does not help,” said Majed Al Ansari, spokesperson for Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a briefing on Sunday.
“We urge all parties, but especially the occupation army to make sure that there is safe routes and that that the agreement, as it was reached, is respected,” he added.
The United Nations Secretary General and aid agencies working in Gaza have condemned Israel’s air strike on an ambulance on Friday, which the Israeli military said, without showing evidence, was carrying Hamas militants.
The Health Ministry, a hospital director and the Palestinian Red Crescent Society in the Hamas-controlled enclave have said the Israeli strike targeted a convoy of ambulances evacuating wounded people from the besieged northern Gaza area.
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