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Gaza locals, foreign residents desperate for Rafah crossing reopening –

Amid escalating tensions, thousands of individuals in Gaza have flocked to the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, awaiting its reopening. This surge in activity comes as diplomatic initiatives persist, with the aim of allowing passage before Israel initiates a potential ground operation.

However, the United Nations has reported no significant headway in negotiations regarding the reopening of the Rafah crossing, a lifeline for many in the besieged region. Cairo, in the midst of this unfolding crisis, has pointed fingers at Israel, accusing the nation of “not co-operating” in the matter, according to a BBC Report.

As Israel continues its air strikes in response to the attack launched by Hamas on October 7, sealing off all routes out of Gaza, international efforts are underway to mitigate the humanitarian crisis. Antony Blinken, US Secretary of State and James Cleverly, UK Foreign Secretary have both embarked on missions to rally support from Israel, Egypt, and other regional players to facilitate the reopening of the crossing.

Secretary Blinken’s visit marks his second to Israel in less than a week, underscoring the urgency of the situation. He aims to expedite the entry of humanitarian aid and the evacuation of foreign passport holders. The Israeli military imposed a blockade on Gaza, cutting of water, food, and fuel supply lines before launching a series of airstrikes  after the deadly attack by Hamas that resulted in the abduction of civilians and soldiers, as well as the loss of over 1,400 lives.

The Rafah crossing represents Gaza’s only potential exit point, while the Israeli blockade of other entry points into the Hamas-controlled territory lingers. On Monday morning, a rush of civilians surged toward the crossing after reports suggested a brief ceasefire would allow temporary reopening. Both Israel and Hamas, however, promptly denied any such arrangement.

Read also: Israel-Hamas war: U.S. prepares 2,000 troops for deployment amid Gaza tensions

The situation escalated as an air strike targeted the vicinity of the crossing, damaging a building on the Palestinian side as well as the road. Israel has now struck the area around the Rafah crossing at least three times since the commencement of its air campaign on Gaza.

Israel asserts that the blockade will only be lifted when Hamas releases the hostages it seized on October 7, with their estimates now reaching 199 people held in Gaza.

With dozens of trucks carrying fuel and aid supplies stranded on the Egyptian side of the Rafah crossing, waiting for clearance, the humanitarian crisis in Gaza continues to worsen, according to BBC.

Tragically, over 2,750 people have lost their lives in Gaza since the Hamas assault, and more than one million residents have been displaced.

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