White House principal deputy national security adviser Jon Finer confirmed Sunday that more than 300 Americans have been able to leave Gaza nearly one month since the war between Israel and the militant group Hamas began.
“We believe that there are still a number of Americans inside Gaza, but that over the last several days, through pretty intensive negotiations with all sides relevant to this conflict, we have been able to get out more than 300 Americans, lawful permanent residents and their family members,” Finer said on CBS News’s “Face the Nation.”
Finer’s comments come after a contingent of foreign nationals who are dual citizens of another country were permitted late last week to leave Gaza for the first time since the war began, moving through the Rafah border crossing into Egypt that had been closed.
Finer did not specify how many Americans are still inside Gaza, but he noted their movement out of the besieged territory is a “major priority” and that the U.S. is “going to continue to work out until every American who wants to leave is able to do so.”
Gaza’s borders have been blocked since Oct. 7 in response to Hamas’s surprise assault that left more than 1,400 people in Israel dead, including hundreds of civilians at their homes, at a bus stop and at a music festival.
Israel quickly responded with a bombardment of Gaza, which has been controlled by Hamas since 2007.
Hundreds of Israeli retaliatory airstrikes and several bombings and ramped-up ground attacks continue to fuel the humanitarian crisis in the territory, where an estimated 2.3 million Palestinians reside.
More than 1 million Palestinian civilians in the north were ordered by Israel to move south in recent weeks, but strikes have also targeted that area of the enclave. Israel has begun its ground invasion of Gaza with no indication of letting up.