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'Why are they laughing at us?’: People unable to flee as Egypt keeps Gaza border closed

Palestinian woman shows her German passport at the Rafah border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt Gaza Strip on Saturday
Palestinian woman shows her German passport at the Rafah border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt Gaza Strip on Saturday Copyright AP Photo
Copyright AP Photo
By Daniel BellamyNebal Hajjo
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'Why are they laughing at us? At least help us to leave. I just want to leave': Euronews spoke to some of the foreign nationals trying to leave Gaza through the Rafah border crossing.

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On the Palestinian side of the Rafah border crossing, crowds of foreign or dual nationals are waiting for it to open so they can flee the Gaza Strip. 

The crossing is the only passage in and out of the Gaza Strip not controlled by Israel, but it was forced to stop operating earlier this week following Israeli airstrikes.

The crossing has since remained closed, as Egypt, Israel and Hamas have not reached an agreement to reopen it to let people out or to deliver medical supplies and other humanitarian aid to the besieged Gaza Strip. 

This is despite planeloads of international humanitarian aid arriving at airports in Egypt. The World Food Programme tweeted that it is waiting to truck high-energy biscuits into Gaza.

Israel has now cut off the flow of food, medicine, water and electricity to Gaza, pounded neighbourhoods with airstrikes and told the estimated one million residents of the north to flee south ahead of Israel's planned attack. 

The Gaza Health Ministry said more than 2,300 Palestinians have been killed since the fighting erupted last weekend.

Relief groups have called for the protection of the over two million civilians in Gaza urging an emergency corridor be established to get the humanitarian aid in.

'This war is very cruel'

As the humanitarian situation worsens in Gaza, Egypt is coming under more and more pressure from the international community to open the crossing.

“My daughters have coordinated with the German Foreign Office for me to be able to leave, but I can't," Nadia Baraka, a German national of Palestinian origin, told Euronews.

"We came and we saw everything closed. Why are they laughing at us? At least help us to leave. I just want to leave," she said.

Ibrahim Al-Qarinawi, a Swiss national, was visiting his family in Gaza when the violence began.

"The war started and we were besieged here. This war is very cruel. There's no water, no electricity, no telephone, no internet, nothing but death and destruction," he told Euronews.

One American passport holder felt very fortunate just to have reached the border with Egypt, even though it remains closed.

“After seeing the situation in Gaza, the houses being destroyed and people dying under rubble, I say that God has given me a new life because I managed to get here,"  Raghda Abu Shaaban said.

"I want to leave and go back to America, but I will leave my heart here. Nothing is as valuable as a human being," she added.

It is not however safe in Rafah. Five days earlier an Israeli bomb landed nearby.

The conflict began after hundreds of fighters from the militant group Hamas entered Israel and killed around 1,300 people, most of them civilians, on 7 October.

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