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More people are expected to be allowed to leave Gaza through the crossing with Egypt

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

More people are expected to be allowed to leave Gaza today through the Rafah border crossing with Egypt.

A MARTÍNEZ, HOST:

Yeah. Several hundred, including foreigners and severely wounded Gazans, got out yesterday. And President Joe Biden says the U.S. is working with regional partners to get more people out and desperately needed aid in.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: We're continuing working to significantly step up the flow of critical humanitarian assistance into Gaza. The number of trucks entering Gaza continues to increase significantly, but we still have a long way to go.

MARTÍNEZ: All this while Israel continues pressing further into Gaza in its war against Hamas and as international condemnation of civilian casualties, especially from airstrikes in the Jabalia refugee camp, continues to grow.

MARTIN: Joining us now from Tel Aviv to tell us more about all this is NPR's Elissa Nadworny. Elissa, welcome. Thank you for joining us.

ELISSA NADWORNY, BYLINE: Good morning.

MARTIN: So can we just start with the people who are getting out? What can you tell us about who they are?

NADWORNY: Yeah. So today, the list of people allowed to leave includes about 400 people with American passports, according to a list provided by Hamas. The list also includes people with passports from other countries, including Croatia, Mexico and the Netherlands. And it is a time-consuming process at the border, so it's not clear everyone on the list from today will actually get to Egypt. Yesterday, we saw the first people to leave Gaza since the conflict began. There were critically injured Palestinians, like you said. There were a handful of American aid workers and about 300 people with foreign passports from places like Australia, Bulgaria and Jordan.

Our producer Anas Baba was there on the Gaza side at the crossing yesterday and talked with Jamila Muhaisen (ph), who is 24 and has a Bulgarian passport. She just got her medical degree in Gaza, where she has family, and she told us leaving is bittersweet.

JAMILA MUHAISEN: It's not the greatest feeling, to be honest. It's not. It's like I'm running away with my life, you know? OK, I lost the house, but I have family here. I have friends here. And it's just not OK to just leave a burning city away, you know? I'm not 100%, like, OK with it.

MARTIN: So we know a little bit more about who's getting out. What about relief supplies going in for the people who desperately need it?

NADWORNY: Yeah. There have been an increased number of aid trucks allowed into Gaza in recent days. At first, you know, it was just 20 or 30 trucks with things like medical supplies and food, but that has more than doubled. Israel has agreed to allow a hundred trucks of humanitarian aid a day. Aid organizations say it's still not enough, you know, given how dire the situation is there.

I talked with Hiba Tibi about this. She is the country director of the NGO CARE in the West Bank and Gaza. And she's been talking to her colleagues in Gaza who are sheltering in crowded homes, sometimes with up to a hundred people in one house. They are running out of water, and they are running out of food.

HIBA TIBI: My colleague mentioned that yesterday they had the last bread that they tried to save for the kids since two days before.

MARTIN: And, Elissa, tell us, where does Israel's ground assault stand?

NADWORNY: So according to the Israeli military, ground forces pushed further into Gaza. They are now in the outskirts of Gaza City. Before the war, that city had a population of about half a million people in it. The Israeli military for weeks has told civilians to leave the north of Gaza and head south, but the U.N. estimates there are still 300,000 Palestinians there. And Israel has said again and again they believe that Hamas is operating extensively in tunnels underground, under very densely populated areas, under hospitals, under places like the Jabalia refugee camp, which they struck repeatedly. And as long as they believe Hamas is doing that, the Israeli military says they're going to continue to go after what they see as legitimate targets, despite this growing international outrage over civilian deaths.

MARTIN: NPR's Elissa Nadworny. Elissa, thank you so much for this reporting.

NADWORNY: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Michel Martin is the weekend host of All Things Considered, where she draws on her deep reporting and interviewing experience to dig in to the week's news. Outside the studio, she has also hosted "Michel Martin: Going There," an ambitious live event series in collaboration with Member Stations.
Elissa Nadworny reports on all things college for NPR, following big stories like unprecedented enrollment declines, college affordability, the student debt crisis and workforce training. During the 2020-2021 academic year, she traveled to dozens of campuses to document what it was like to reopen during the coronavirus pandemic. Her work has won several awards including a 2020 Gracie Award for a story about student parents in college, a 2018 James Beard Award for a story about the Chinese-American population in the Mississippi Delta and a 2017 Edward R. Murrow Award for excellence in innovation.