Hamas blocking foreign nationals from leaving Gaza

Hamas is reportedly blocking foreign nationals from leaving Gaza as the conflict with Israel continues to rage on.

The United States said foreign nationals – including Britons – have been blocked from leaving the region. It comes as Israel reportedly sent more troops into the Strip to boost its ground offensive.

Britain said it was working to rescue trapped citizens from Gaza. The area has this weekend been plagued by looting due to concerns over food shortages.

US officials said Israel and Egypt were prepared to let foreign nationals leave the Strip. The area is currently under heavy bombardment from Israel, reports The Telegraph.

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Hamas however is said to have refused. There are thought to be at least 200 British citizens who have registered with the UK authorities and live in the coastal enclave.

There are around 600 Americans as well as countless other nationalities. Jake Sullivan, the White House’s chief security adviser, said: “The Egyptians are prepared to let Americans and other foreign nationals out of Gaza. The Israelis have no issue with that. But Hamas is preventing their departure and making a series of demands.”

The Telegraph says UK Government sources said they echo the US concerns. It claims those in Gaza are “effectively being held hostage in a war zone”.

World leaders have raised cocnerns about foreigners trapped in Gaza. Rishi Sunak, the Prime Minister, and Emmanuel Macron, the French president, agreed to work together to get British and French nationals out of Gaza and get more aid in.

US President Joe Biden has told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that his military needs to distinguish between Palestinian civilians and Hamas during the conflict. He also spoke with Egypt in a bid to push more aid into Gaza.

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The Israel Defense Force (IDF) has continued to expand its push into the Strip. It has prompted the evacuation of the major al-Quds hospital.

The World Health Organisation has said the threat was “deeply concerning”. It has repeatedly said it is impossible to evacuate hospitals without putting patients in danger.

The weekend has seen shocking scenes in Gaza as desparation hits. Thousands broke into a United Nations warehouse to take flour and hygeine supplies.

Crowds were spotted carrying sacks of flour marked with the the blue logo of the UN’s Palestinian refugee agency, UNRWA. Israel has blamed Hamas for the scenes in Gaza.

Daniel Hagari, spokesman for the IDF, claimed that the people of Gaza have said Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar “no longer cares” about them. Hagari said: “He has imposed such a terrible disaster on them.

“He has lost control and he is the individual responsible for the collapse and devastation of Gaza.”

On Sunday morning, the Hamas-controlled Gaza health minsitry claimed the death toll had now passed 8,000 since October 7. It says most of those killed were women and children.

Aid supplies meanwhile have been minimal in Gaza as Israel imposed a “total seige”. Israeli officials have however claimed food, water and medicines have reached Gaza through Egypt.

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