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NY Post
New York Post
21 Oct 2023


NextImg:10 Americans still missing, hundreds trapped in Gaza as ground war looms

At least 10 Americans are still missing following the devastating Hamas attack on Israel — some of whom are believed to be hostages being held in Gaza by Hamas, Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned Saturday.

The 10 are among roughly 200 hostages taken in the brutal Oct. 7 attacks on Southern Israel.

“They include men, women, young boys, young girls, elderly people from many nations,” Blinken said. “Every single one of them should be released.”

After two American hostages kidnapped by Hamas terrorists were released Friday, Blinken promised the United States would continue efforts to secure the release of additional hostages and others trapped in the Palestinian enclave, even as Israeli tanks and soldiers have lined up at the Gaza border for the looming ground invasion. 

“The urgent work to free every single American, to free all other hostages continues, as does our work to secure the safe passage out of Gaza for the Americans who are trapped there,” Blinken.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken assured the United States was working to free Americans trapped in Gaza.
AP

In addition to suspected hostages, at least 400 Americans are believed stuck in the besieged territory, where food, water, fuel, and medicine have been cut off amid Israel’s fierce bombardment in retaliation to Hamas’ bloody rampage that killed at least 1,400 people in the Jewish state. 

“We are extremely afraid for our lives,” Abood Okal, 36, who lives outside of Boston with his partner, Wafaa Abuzayda, 29, told The Washington Post earlier this week, just minutes after an airstrike bombed a home nearby where they were staying with their one-year-old son. 

There is “no place safe for us to go and no evacuation plan on the horizon,” he added.

Israeli tanks and soldiers have lined up at the Gazan border for the looming ground invasion.
AFP via Getty Images

On Saturday, the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza opened for the first time since Israel sealed off the point in the wake of Hamas’ bloody slaughter, allowing a convoy of 20 trucks to bring in much-needed aid to Palestinians. 

Ahead of the opening, the US Embassy in Israel directed Americans stuck in Gaza to prepare to flee through the crossing, while warning it was unclear how long it might be open and that they “should expect a potentially chaotic and disorderly environment on both sides of the crossing.” 

Follow along with The Post’s live blog for the latest on Hamas’ attack on Israel

But while the trucks were allowed in to bring vital supplies — including 44,000 bottles of drinking water and medical supplies for 300,000 people, according to the UN’s children’s agency and World Health Organization — Americans and other foreign passport holders crowding the crossing were not allowed to leave. 

“There is no opening of the crossing, and the suffering is the same,” Dina al- Khatib told the Times of Israel. “They communicate with us, but there is no change.”

“It’s not like previous wars,” she added. “Here is no electricity, no water, no internet, nothing.”

The Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza opened up to allow much-needed aid for Palestinians.
AFP via Getty Images
Egyptian aid workers celebrate as a truck crosses back into Egypt through the Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip on October 21, 2023.
AFP via Getty Images

Blinken urged all sides to keep the Rafah crossing point open, noting the breakthrough on aid had been the result of “days of exhaustive U.S. diplomatic engagement in the region.”

The country’s top diplomat also threatened Hamas to not take any of the relief supplies that were allowed in. 

“As President Biden stated, if Hamas steals or diverts this assistance,” Blinken said, “it will have demonstrated once again that it has no regard for the welfare of the Palestinian people.”  

With Post wires.