On Saturday, Egypt declared its flat refusal to let some 500 Americans from Gaza through the Rafah Border Crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip. According to the Wall Street Journal, a diplomatic effort to evacuate US citizens collapsed since Egyptian officials conditioned letting foreign citizens through the crossing on being able to pass aid to Gaza in the opposite direction.
Israel announced that it would bomb any supply truck attempting to deliver goods from Egypt into the Gaza Strip.
According to the WSJ, the US brokered a deal to allow American citizens to flee through the Rafah border crossing, but as the 5 PM deadline for the deal grew close, Egyptian officials said foreigners would be allowed through only if Israel allowed the delivery of water, food, and medical supplies into the Gaza Strip.
Reuters reported that it was not known whether the US would make another attempt to open Rafah to fleeing Americans on Sunday.
A spokesperson for the State Department said on Saturday: “We have informed US citizens in Gaza with whom we are in contact that if they assess it to be safe, they may wish to move closer to the Rafah border crossing. There may be very little notice if the crossing opens and it may only open for a limited time.”
The State Dept. on Saturday updated its “Travel Advisory for Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza,” to say: “Terrorist groups, lone-actor terrorists and other violent extremists continue plotting possible attacks in Israel and the West Bank and Gaza. Terrorists and violent extremists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and local government facilities. Violence can occur in Israel and the West Bank and Gaza without warning. There has been a marked increase in demonstrations throughout Israel, some with little or no warning.”
On Friday, the State Dept. authorized the departure of non-emergency US government personnel and eligible family members from the US Embassy in Jerusalem and the US Branch Office in Tel Aviv due to the unpredictable security situation in Israel.
The State Dept. also advised: “Do Not Travel To: Gaza due to terrorism, civil unrest, and armed conflict; and Reconsider Travel To: Israel due to terrorism and civil unrest, West Bank due to terrorism and civil unrest.”