Rafah crossing from Gaza to Egypt opens for first time since October 7 attacks with foreign nationals allowed to leave

1 November 2023, 08:15 | Updated: 1 November 2023, 08:27

People walk through a gate to enter the Rafah border crossing to Egypt in the southern Gaza Strip
People walk through a gate to enter the Rafah border crossing to Egypt in the southern Gaza Strip. Picture: Getty

By Asher McShane

Some foreign passport holders will be allowed out of Gaza today as the Rafah crossing was opened for the first time since the Hamas attack on October 7.

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Western countries have been calling for the border crossing into Egypt, which is the only route out of Gaza not controlled by Israel, to open for weeks to allow foreigners to leave the region. 

The crossing has been closed since October 7 but has been opened briefly to allow some aid into the region.

Scenes this morning show groups of people moving towards the border crossing in anticipation of being put through checks that will allow them to make their way into Egypt.

People wait at the Rafah crossing out of Gaza
People wait at the Rafah crossing out of Gaza. Picture: Getty

James Cleverly said today's move will allow the "first group of foreign nationals" to leave. 

“UK teams are ready to assist British nationals as soon as they are able to leave,” he posted online.

“It’s vital that lifesaving humanitarian aid can enter Gaza as quickly as possible.”

It is understood that around 500 people with foreign passports and some badly injured Palestinians will be allowed to leave.

In one of the latest attacks, dozens of Palestinians were killed and over 150 wounded in Israeli strikes on the Jabaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza.

The Israel Defence Forces admitted carrying out the strikes - saying it targeted Hamas infrastructure.

The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza has accused Israel of being behind the blast, which it says killed at least 50 people.

Pictures from the scene show a huge crater in the ground, caused by an explosion, and several collapsed buildings.

The blast took place at the Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza, an area where Gazans were told to move to ahead of Israel's ground offensive.

An IDF spokesperson said: "A short while ago, IDF fighter jets, acting on ISA intelligence, killed Ibrahim Biari, the Commander of Hamas' Central Jabaliya Battalion.

"Biari was one of the leaders responsible for sending "Nukbha" terrorist operatives to Israel to carry out the murderous terror attack on October 7th."

"Numerous Hamas terrorists were hit in the strike", they added.

DF spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari added: "During this operation many terrorists were killed. Terrorists who were with him inside the building as well as under the building in tunnels.

"The targeting of the building he was in led to destruction in other buildings because of this extensive underground infrastructure.

"The purpose of that infrastructure was to carry out attacks against Israel and that infrastructure has collapsed."

It did not confirm how many civilians were killed.