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Israeli forces advance on Gaza as more Americans leave war-torn territory

Foreign nationals flee Gaza as war rages
Foreign nationals flee Gaza as Israel-Hamas war rages 02:59

Israeli soldiers advanced on war-torn Gaza City early Thursday but were met with fierce resistance from Hamas militants, Israel's military said, as hundreds of Americans appeared set to depart the Hamas-ruled territory and cross the border into Egypt.

In remarks at a press briefing on Thursday, Israel Defense Forces spokesperson Daniel Hagari said IDF soldiers "continued to advance in the area of Gaza City and are conducting close combat battles with Hamas terrorists and expanding the fighting."

This photo released by the Israeli military on Nov. 2, 2023, shows what it says are ground operations inside the Gaza Strip.
This photo released by the Israeli military on Nov. 2, 2023, shows what it says are ground operations inside the Gaza Strip. Israel Defense Forces via AP

Hagari said Israeli forces had targeted Hamas posts where militants had been shooting mortar rockets toward Israel and that IDF soldiers "had fought against a large number of terrorists who tried to ambush them." 

"At the end of the battles spanning a few hours, including fighting from the ground with air support from aircraft and missile ships, many terrorists were killed," Hagari added.

Footage has emerged of Hamas fighters, as well as militants from its ally Islamic Jihad, using guerrilla-style tactics, emerging from underground tunnels to fire at Israeli tanks, then disappearing back into underground tunnel networks, the Reuters news agency reported Thursday.

Hamas-run emergency services in Gaza said on Thursday that 15 people were found dead in the rubble after an Israeli strike on the Bureij refugee camp.

Three Palestinians also died in tank shelling near the town of Khan Younis and an airstrike killed five outside a U.N. school in the Beach refugee camp on Thursday, according to Reuters, citing officials from the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry.

Israeli forces were closing in on the Gaza Strip's main population center in the north, where Hamas is based and where Israel has been telling civilians to leave, according to Reuters. 

The small Palestinian territory of Gaza has been repeatedly hammered by Israeli airstrikes in the aftermath of the bloody incursion by Hamas militants into Israel on October 7 that left more than 1,400 people dead and hundreds more taken hostage. 

The bombardment of Gaza, an enclave of 2.3 million people, has killed at least 9,061 people and 3,760 children, Reuters reported, citing the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry.

As the fighting rages on, hundreds of Americans who were trapped in Gaza appeared set to leave the war-torn enclave as foreign nationals continued to cross over the Rafah border crossing into Egypt after it opened to them for the first time since the Oct. 7 attacks.

President Biden, during a brief exchange with journalists at the Oval Office, said 74 Americans who are dual citizens got out of Gaza on Thursday and are coming home.

A list released by Gaza's Hamas-controlled Interior Ministry had the names of 400 American nationals who were approved to cross over the border on Thursday. The U.S. State Department estimates that there have been around 400 Americans stuck in Gaza. 

At least five nongovernmental organization workers who have been confirmed as Americans were on a previous list released by the Gaza interior ministry as having been approved to cross on Wednesday. All five were confirmed to have crossed over to Egypt by their respective humanitarian organizations in statements sent to CBS News.

Palestinians waiting to cross the Rafah Border Gate
Palestinians with foreign passports wait at the Rafah Border Gate to cross into Egypt from Gaza on Nov. 1, 2023. Abed Rahim Khatib / Anadolu via Getty Images

A total blockade of Gaza in which no person could leave the shellacked region had lasted for over three weeks before the border crossing opened on Wednesday. Hundreds of foreign nationals, as well as some wounded Palestinians, reportedly crossed over the past 24 hours.

In a statement Thursday, the Egyptian foreign ministry said Egypt would ultimately assist in evacuating "about 7,000" foreigners and dual nationals from the war-ravaged Gaza Strip, representing "more than 60" nationalities.

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