Hamas will not let out hundreds of Americans trapped in Gaza: Pentagon

WASHINGTON – The Hamas terrorist group is preventing hundreds of Americans who are trapped inside the Gaza Strip from leaving the territory, a senior defense official said Monday.

The situation is a grim twist to the pro-Palestinian argument that Israel administers Gaza as an “open-air prison,” despite not controlling the area since 2005.

As Israel prepares its forces to escalate its ground invasion following the Hamas massacre of more than 1,400 people, including at least 33 Americans, on October 7, US officials are working overtime to secure the release of Americans who wish to leave. before hostilities escalate. .

“There has been an intense effort led by the State Department to work with all relevant stakeholders, including Israel, Egypt, the United Nations and Hamas, which has to enable the safe movement of those civilians through Gaza and out.” through the Rafah crossing. [into Egypt,]“said the official.

On Monday morning, Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed the situation with Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said.

The Hamas terrorist group is preventing hundreds of Americans who are trapped inside the Gaza Strip from leaving the territory.REUTERS Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed the situation with Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani.AP

The secretary also participated in multiple talks with Doha over the weekend, Miller added.

Qatar is a key intermediary for US talks with Hamas, having hosted the jihadist group’s political leaders for more than a decade.

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“Our work to ensure the safety of American citizens in Gaza remains our top priority,” Miller told reporters on Monday. “We will continue to work at the highest level to ensure the release of all hostages held by Hamas and the safe passage of those American citizens in Gaza who wish to leave.”

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

It is unclear how many Americans may be among the approximately 200 hostages held by Hamas. Two American citizens were released on October 20 after the United States requested Qatar’s help in negotiations.

“Hamas has not yet agreed to release anyone other than [those who have been released to date,]Miller said. “With respect to American citizens who want to leave Gaza, they are still not operating on their side of the Rafah gate.”

The Pentagon official said the United States has military forces in the region prepared to support “hostage recovery efforts in Gaza, as well as work with all relevant stakeholders for the safe evacuation of American citizens and other persons of concern to the United States.” United from Gaza.”

So far, they have not been tasked with any effort in that regard, the person added.

“With respect to departures with military assistance, I have nothing to inform you today, other than to say that we are the Department of Defense and that we are prepared for every contingency,” the official said.

While the defense official said there were “hundreds” of American citizens in Gaza who wanted to leave, a State Department spokesperson told The Post that the agency could not give a precise number.

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The Pentagon official said the United States has military forces in the region ready to support “hostage recovery efforts in Gaza.” ZUMAPRESS.com Palestinians evacuate an injured man after an Israeli airstrike destroyed the Abu Rizq family home in Rafah, southern Gaza. Tira.ZUMAPRESS.com

“We are in communication with American citizens who are requesting assistance in leaving Gaza,” the spokesperson said. “Due to security considerations and the fact that this is a fluid and rapidly evolving situation, we are not in a position to provide a figure.”

The State Department has chartered several flights from Israel for Americans stuck in the Jewish state without flights home after major airlines ceased operations in the country at the start of the conflict.

The last charter flight in the United States will take off on Tuesday, Miller said, after only five passengers took a recent flight.

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Source: vtt.edu.vn

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