The U.S. government advised its citizens in Gaza to move south toward the Rafah border crossing with Egypt to be ready for its possible reopening amid the humanitarian crisis in the coastal enclave after a Hamas attack in Israel drew Israeli military retaliation.
Washington has been working with Egypt, Israel, and Qatar to open the Rafah crossing to allow Palestinian Americans to leave, a senior State Department official said earlier.
“We have been trying to facilitate access for it to be open. The Egyptians, the Israelis and the Qataris have been working with us on that,” the official told reporters traveling with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
On the third day of his most extensive trip yet to the Middle East, Blinken met with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal Bin Farhan in Riyadh as the top American diplomat works with regional U.S. allies to prevent the war between Israel and Hamas from spiraling into a bigger conflict and help secure the release of hostages kidnapped by the Islamist group.
Blinken also spoke by phone with China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, and asked him to help keep the conflict from spreading, State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said. It was the first high-level contact between Washington and Beijing since the Hamas attack and came amid heightened tensions between the two rival powers on a range of issues.