CHICAGO (WLS) — Some Chicago natives and other foreign nationals are finally being allowed to leave Gaza at the border crossing with Egypt.
The exodus to Egypt from Gaza began on Thursday as U.S. pressure finally resulted in the gate from Gaza to Egypt to be unlocked for some Americans and other foreign nationals. Among those fleeing the war torn area is former Chicagoan Emilee Rauschenberger, her husband and their five children.
The I-Team first talked with Rauschenberger last month as their exit was just a plan and a hope.
“The nights are terrifying because you you just hear bombing and sometimes very close and sometimes far in the distance but you really don’t know what the targets are or what will happen,” said Emilee Rauschenberger
Since Oct. 7, the family’s life has been on hold in Gaza.
Rauschenberger described how her husband from the UK, and their five children witnessed the hardships and heartbreak of war by day and dodged bombs by night.
The family tried to time their arrival at the Rafah crossing into Egypt until they would be certain to pass.
“We don’t go until we have word that it might that might be open, because it’s a dangerous and dangerous journey,” Rauschenberger said.
Thursday was that day, according to her father. The border pass opened for them. He said all seven are now safely in a Cairo hotel.
They had come to Gaza to visit family. So had American Susan Beseiso who was also allowed to leave today into Egypt.
“So right now I’m between ice and fire. I don’t know if I’m ever going to be able to see the family that I left behind or the friends that I left behind,” Beseiso said.
Two American doctors volunteering in Gaza, Ramona Okumura and Barbara Zind, were among the first to leave yesterday. the 68-year old Zind from Colorado described the conditions facing those she left behind.
“They really have no no water, no electricity, you know, are living on barely anything,” Dr. Zind said.
They all leave a region that is in ruins. Ghazi Hamad, a senior Hamas official, talked with reporters Thursday.
Hamad said the occupation forces are committing crimes and massacres -destroying homes, targeting civilians and including children.
“Hundreds of people were killed because of this targeting,” Hamad said. “The number of the victims is increasing day after day, and moment after moment. Gaza will remain a thorn in the throat of the occupation and we will continue to fight against the occupation.”
Israeli defense officials dispute war crimes or intentional attacks on Palestinian civilians.
However, Israeli commanders say they have Gaza City surrounded and will continue attacking military positions until Hamas is eradicated.
So far the Gaza and West Bank death total is more than 9,200 with 25,000 people wounded, according to Hamas and Palestinian health authorities.
In Israel officials say 1,400 are dead and almost five thousand wounded.