Representatives from various embassies wait for dual nationals arriving in the Egyptian part of the Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip on November 12, 2023, after fleeing the Palestinian enclave due to the ongoing battles between Israel and the militant group Hamas. AFP
In a statement, the Russian government announced starting the evacuation of its citizens from the war-battered strip, noting that 70 Russian passport holders have already crossed into Egypt.
On Thursday, the Russian foreign ministry said it is “shocked” as Israeli officials say that evacuation of Russian citizens from Gaza can take up to two weeks – with around 500 Russians wanting to leave.
The ministry said late in October that around 1,000 citizens of Russia and neighboring CIS countries have applied for evacuation from the strip.
Meanwhile, Poland’s National Security Bureau Head Jacek Siewiera said the first group of Polish citizens have crossed through the Rafah crossing and are now on the Egyptian side to be transferred to Poland.
“Air Force as ordered by the Polish president is ready to carry out transport,” he added.
The Polish and Russian nationals are part of 846 foreigners who reportedly crossed the canal into Egypt on Sunday. Egypt has received hundreds of foreign passport holders from Gaza out of around 7,000 foreigners in the strip since the beginning of November.
Egyptian quarantine teams conduct examinations on foreign evacuees at the border crossing and vaccinate children against polio, measles, and mumps.
According to the latest figures released by the Egyptian Ministry of Health on Thursday, 699 foreigners, including 121 children, have undergone examinations.
Egypt has also evacuated dozens of seriously injured Palestinians and cancer patients from Gaza, where hospitals keep going out of service due to the ongoing Israeli strikes and lack of fuel. Since the beginning of the war, Israel has banned fuel from entering the strip.
Besides evacuations, Egypt has delivered 750 humanitarian aid trucks provided by local groups as well as world countries and international organizations to the strip.