The Biden administration revealed on Friday that Hamas’ attempts to smuggle wounded terrorists out of the Palestinian territories have delayed ongoing efforts to remove foreign nationals, including Americans, from the Gaza Strip.
A senior Biden administration official said during a call with reporters: “Hamas was not allowing anyone to leave.” “Then they said they would allow foreign citizens to leave, on the condition that a number of wounded Palestinians were allowed to leave as well, which was of course unobjectionable.
“But the list that was presented, once it was examined, about a third of the wounded Palestinians on the list were Hamas members,” the official continued, calling the stunt “unacceptable.”
The official said about 6,000 foreign nationals are trapped in the war zone, including up to 500 American citizens, most of whom are dual citizens.
President Biden announced on Wednesday that Hamas has finally agreed to allow some American citizens to leave the Gaza Strip, along with wounded Palestinians and other foreign nationals.
The Biden administration official said that Qatar and Egypt “have a crucial role” in negotiations with Hamas.
On Thursday, Biden told reporters that “74 Americans, dual citizens” were able to leave Gaza, via the Rafah crossing into neighboring Egypt. Five Americans were able to get out the day before.
National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said he expects more Americans will be able to leave “at a pace similar to, if not better than, what we’ve seen.”
The urgent need to leave Gaza has increased in recent days as Israel intensifies its military operations in the narrow strip of land, and heavily bombs Hamas targets.
An Israeli airstrike on the densely populated Jabalia refugee camp in Gaza, targeting Hamas leaders, reportedly killed at least 50 people earlier this week.
“It’s not our military, it’s not a U.S. military campaign, and so I don’t want to be an armchair linebacker here, but I will say when there are incidents, certainly we are in talks with the Israelis,” the Biden administration said. An official said when asked about the raid, describing the images that followed as “horrific.”
The official added: “The explanations we received from the Israelis were not just a battalion or a battalion commander, but rather a number of its commanders, a large unit of that battalion,” noting that “the intention was not to collapse the battalion.” City block.”
“Infuriatingly humble analyst. Bacon maven. Proud food specialist. Certified reader. Avid writer. Zombie advocate. Incurable problem solver.”