Approximately 300 Americans and their family members have been evacuated from Gaza in the past few days, following intense negotiations, according to White House Deputy National Security Adviser Jon Finer. This comes after President Joe Biden promised that the Americans trapped in the war zone would be brought home. Negotiations with Hamas to release hostages taken during the attack on Israel on October 7 have been ongoing, and while they have taken longer than expected, there is still hope for the release of a significant number of hostages.
It is believed that there are still Americans remaining in Gaza, though the exact number is unclear. Secretary of State Antony Blinken previously stated that there were around 400 U.S. citizens and their family members, totaling approximately 1,000 people, stuck in Gaza. The evacuations began on Wednesday, with 74 dual citizens released as of Thursday.
In terms of casualties, the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry reports that a total of 9,700 Palestinians have been killed since the invasion by Hamas on October 7. Additionally, over 1,400 Israelis have been killed, most of them during the initial attack, which also led to 242 hostages being taken into Gaza.
Evacuations through the Rafah crossing into Egypt have been suspended since Saturday due to an Israeli attack on an ambulance that was allegedly carrying Hamas fighters. The U.S. and Egypt are working to resume the crossings, but communication issues, including the lack of internet service in Gaza, have hindered the operation. Trapped U.S. citizens have been unable to receive State Department emails as a result.
President Biden has called for a humanitarian pause in Israel's counterattacks to facilitate the release of the hostages. However, he has not explicitly called for a cease-fire, despite mounting pressure from protesters, Arab states, and over 100 United Nations members. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stated that Israel will not stop its counterattacks until the hostages are released.
The situation in Gaza remains tense, with ongoing negotiations and calls for a halt to the violence. The evacuations of Americans and their family members are seen as a breakthrough, but the process has faced challenges due to communication issues. The hope is that further negotiations and diplomatic efforts will lead to the release of more hostages and a de-escalation of the conflict.