US Evacuates 17 American Doctors Stuck In Gaza


The Americans who made their way out did so with the support of the US Embassy in Jerusalem.

Seventeen of the 20 American doctors who were stuck in Gaza after Israel shut the border crossing from Rafah to Egypt have safely departed the enclave, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said on Friday.

“They’re out. There was 20 American doctors, 17 are out now, came out today. And all 17, they wanted to, they wanted to leave — I won’t speak for the other three, but just, I can assure you that any of them that wanted to leave are out now,” Kirby said.

The Americans who made their way out did so with the support of the US Embassy in Jerusalem, said a State Department spokesperson. “We have been in close contact with the groups that these US doctors are part of, and we have been in contact with the families of these US citizens,” the spokesperson added.

CNN reported, citing that the three American doctors who opted not to depart Gaza did so understanding that the US Embassy may not be able to facilitate their departure in the same manner, the source familiar said. They added that it “was an extremely unique operation.”

The Embassy team travelled to Kerem Shalom crossing to receive the doctors at the border, the source added, without providing details about how the doctors travelled to the border crossing.

CNN reported that the aid organizations will face challenges getting doctors back into Gaza following the departure of 17 of the 20 American doctors who were stuck there after Israel shut the border crossing from Rafah to Egypt.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby

Sources familiar with the efforts to help the American doctors escape said that backfilling them remains a major concern, largely because the Rafah crossing remains closed after the Israeli military seized it early last week.

The Rafah crossing, when it was operating, was the only entry and exit point for foreign aid workers. Israeli and Egyptian officials have so far failed to reach an agreement on reopening it.

One of the doctors who decided to stay behind is Dr. Adam Hamawy, who helped save Sen. Tammy Duckworth’s life 20 years ago in Iraq, according to a source familiar with the matter. Hamawy travelled to Gaza with the Palestinian American Medical Association and did not feel right leaving without other doctors coming in to take over, CNN reported citing source.

Many members of Congress, including Duckworth, are working with the Biden administration to push Israel to do more to get aid and humanitarian workers into Gaza, and to get the protections needed for those workers. Earlier this week, a top USAID official said that Israel was not doing enough to ensure the safety of aid works.

“The deconfliction measures are not where they need to be yet, given the complexity of the environment. So those conversations are ongoing, they need to continue and they need to get to a place where humanitarian aid workers feel safe and secure and able to operate safely. And I don’t think we’re there yet,” said Sonali Korde, assistant to the administrator of USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, noting that Gaza is a “very dangerous place to work.” (ANI)

ALSO READ: Indian Embassy Pays Tribute to Fallen Colonel in Gaza

[mc4wp_form id=""]