About 400 Americans and other foreign passport holders have been approved to depart the Gaza Strip Thursday as President Joe Biden calls for a pause in the Israeli-Hamas war, reports NPR.
Haneen Okal, a 31-year-old mother of three, is on the list of American passport holders approved to leave Gaza.
"We can't describe our feelings of getting evacuated," Okal told NPR as she waited at the Rafah border crossing Thursday. "But we're still sad because what's happening in Gaza. The war is still there.
"I left my two sisters, my two brothers, and my mom and my dad. My mom and my dad do have American citizenship, but they don't want to leave my other family members, so hopefully we can get them all out of there as soon as we can."
Biden on Wednesday called for a pause to the war, which has lasted for nearly a month.
"I think we need a pause," he said, speaking to a crowd of supporters after giving a campaign speech. A brief cessation of military operations could "give time to get the prisoners out," he added, which the White House later clarified to refer to hostages held by Hamas.
More than 9,000 Palestinians have been killed in 25 days of fighting, and bombings have driven more than half the territory's 2.3 million people from their homes, while food, water and fuel run low.
Over 1,400 people have died on the Israeli side, mainly civilians killed during Hamas' initial attack, also an unprecedented figure. Seventeen Israeli soldiers have been killed in Gaza since the start of the ground operation.
Solange Reyner ✉
Solange Reyner is a writer and editor for Newsmax. She has more than 15 years in the journalism industry reporting and covering news, sports and politics.
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