Rafah Gate Opened
Hundreds of foreign passport holders and groups of severely injured Palestinians were allowed to cross into Egypt yesterday, the first civilians to leave the Gaza Strip during the three-week conflict. Egypt had thus far declined to allow refugees across the border, citing the potential for an unmanageable number of refugees, concerns refugees won't be allowed to return to their homes following the war, and mistrust of Hamas and other Islamic militant groups (read more).
US officials suggest as many as 600 American citizens remain in Gaza, some of whom were among those allowed to exit with the initial group. See photos from the Rafah border crossing here.
Separately, Israel has effectively begun a ground invasion of the 140-square-mile territory, with at least four reported incursions. Analysts say troop movements appear designed to isolate Gaza City from the south. See a detailed map here.
Israeli officials have warned a sweeping invasion of Gaza will be significantly challenging, requiring troops to navigate an extensive set of tunnels believed to be hundreds of miles long. Many of the more than 200 hostages taken by Hamas in its initial Oct. 7 attack against Israel are likely held underground.
See updates on the war here.