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“Blinken: Hamas Responsible for Stranding Foreign Nationals in Gaza; Egypt Steps In to Aid”.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said that, while he recognizes the gravity of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, the recent lack of access for foreign nationals to leave the region is due to Hamas’s actions. The issue came to the fore when some foreigners, including journalists and aid workers, had difficulties leaving Gaza earlier this month due to restrictions imposed by Hamas. Speaking on the issue, Blinken said: “We recognize that there’s a humanitarian crisis in Gaza that is severe and getting worse. But the responsibility for that rests squarely with Hamas.” He went on to say that Hamas’ actions had limited the ability of those inside Gaza to lead ordinary lives. In some cases, access for foreign nationals wanting to enter or leave the region has been restricted due to Hamas’ use of violence, with a number of trucks carrying aid being set on fire in recent weeks. According to Blinken, recent restrictions on entry and exit from Gaza had prevented foreign nationals from receiving treatment for health conditions, by denying them access to the health care services they needed. “That’s unacceptable,” Blinken said. He noted that Egypt was ready to help with the situation and that the US was ready to work with the Egyptians to make sure that access to and from Gaza was improved. According to Blinken, the US is seeking to bring relief to Gaza, but that this can only be achieved by addressing the underlying causes of the crisis, which he said was Hamas’s actions and behavior. “We want to take steps to alleviate the humanitarian crisis, to do what we can to make sure that people have access to health care and food and the basic livelihood they need, and that access in and out of the region is improved,” Blinken said. He concluded by saying that while the US is ready to work with Egypt to help the people of Gaza, it must also take action to counter Hamas’ activities and to ensure that access is improved.