Israel-Palestine conflict: More foreign citizens to leave Gaza
Hundreds of foreign nationals & dozens of Palestinians have begun evacuating from Gaza via the Rafah crossing with Egypt
More foreign nationals are preparing to cross into Egypt from Gaza
US top diplomat Antony Blinken departs for the Middle East, again
US President Joe Biden calls for "pause" in Israel-Hamas war
Biden calls for 'pause' in Israel-Hamas conflict
US President Joe Biden has called for a "pause" in the Israel-Hamas conflict to get "prisoners" out of Gaza.
He made the comments after a protester interrupted a campaign speech he was delivering in the US state of Minnesota.
"As a rabbi, I need you to call for a cease-fire right now," the protester said.
In response, Biden said: "I think we need a pause. A pause means giving time to get the prisoners out."
The White House later clarified that Biden was referring to the hostages held by Hamas militants when he said "prisoners."
While the White House has previously called for "humanitarian pauses" to allow aid to be delivered or civilians to be evacuated from Gaza, it has refused to call for a cease-fire in the conflict.
Blinken to depart for West Asia visit
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken departs for the West Asia on Thursday for what will be his second trip to the region in less than a month.
Blinken is scheduled to arrive in Israel on Friday, where he will meet officials including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The top US diplomat is also expected to stop in Jordan. The Arab country on Wednesday said it was withdrawing its ambassador to Israel until the attacks on Gaza end. Israel said it regretted Jordan's decision.
Israel launched airstrikes and a ground offensive against Hamas militants in Gaza after the Islamist group staged unprecedented terror attacks against Israeli communities on October 7.
"As I have emphasized, we don't have to choose between defending Israel and aiding Palestinian civilians. We can and must do both," Blinken said on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, as he announced his trip.
Blinken will also pursue talks to secure the release of the more than 220 hostages being held by Hamas, his spokesperson Matthew Miller said. The talks are being led by Qatar and Egypt.
Hamas is designated a terrorist organization by the US, EU, Germany and a number of other countries.
More foreign citizens prepare to be evacuated out of Gaza
More foreign citizens are expected to leave the besieged Gaza Strip via the Rafah border crossing on Thursday.
At least 320 foreign citizens, as well as dozens of seriously injured Palestinians, entered Egypt on Wednesday as part of a deal between Israel, Egypt and the Hamas militant group.
The US, the UK, Japan, France and Germany all said the first group of their citizens were in the evacuation.
Australia's Foreign Affairs Department said at least 20 Australians had been allowed across the border, with 65 citizens, residents and close relatives still waiting to leave.
Bulgaria also said 36 of its citizens were able to leave Gaza amid an evacuation carried out "in a complex and extremely dynamic situation."
Gaza border officials were cited by the Reuters news agency as saying the Rafah crossing would reopen on Thursday to allow for further evacuations. A diplomatic source cited by the agency said some 7,000 foreign passport holders were expected to leave the territory over the next two weeks.
Published: 02 Nov 2023, 10:21 AM