The US government on Saturday advised its citizens in Gaza to head south to the Rafah border crossing with Egypt to prepare for reopening amid a humanitarian crisis in the coastal enclave after an attack on Israel from Hamas prompted an Israeli military response.
Washington worked with Egypt, Israel and Qatar to try to open the Rafah crossing for limited hours on Saturday afternoon to allow Palestinian Americans to leave, a senior US State Department official said.
But the official later said it was unclear whether Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist group that controls Gaza, would allow access to the crossing or whether any US citizens would be able to leave. It was not immediately clear whether the US would make another attempt to open Rafah on Sunday.
The U.S. government estimates the number of Palestinian-Americans with dual citizenship in Gaza at 500 to 600, out of a total population of about 2.3 million, and Washington hopes to move many of its citizens out of the danger zone.
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