The first group of foreigners and dual nationals from Gaza arrived in Egypt via the Rafah crossing border on Wednesday, November 1, according to official sources, after Egypt opened the Rafah crossing for the first time since the Israel-Hamas war began on October 7. At the same time, ambulances transported wounded residents out of Gaza for urgent medical care in Egypt.

A first group of foreigners and dual nationals fleeing war-torn Gaza arrived in Egypt on Wednesday, mostly women and children, an Egyptian official told media sources, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Parents with strollers and elderly people were seen among those getting off a bus on the Egyptian side of the Rafah crossing in footage broadcast by an Egyptian TV channel close to the intelligence services.

Reporters saw a phalanx of 40 white ambulances streaming through the Rafah border crossing, as crowds of foreign and dual national families gathered nearby, hoping to leave the catastrophic conditions of Gaza behind them.

Some 400 foreigners and dual nationals expected to make the crossing on Wednesday.

Foreign governments say there are passport holders from 44 countries, as well as 28 agencies, including UN bodies, living in the Gaza Strip, where 2.4 million people have endured more than three weeks of unrelenting Israeli bombardment in response to the October 7 Hamas attacks.

Separately, Egypt said the first group of 81 seriously sick or wounded Palestinians would be allowed into Egypt for medical treatment on Wednesday, with television channels close to the Egyptian intelligence services broadcasting live images of a fleet of ambulances entering the terminal.

Palestinian sources said they expected 88 people to be taken across for treatment in Egyptian hospitals.

The evacuation agreement implemented between Egypt, Hamas, and Israel, achieved through mediation by Qatar and in coordination with the United States according to a diplomatic source, represents a rare glimmer of hope since October 7th.

Gabriela De La Cruz, with AFP