Israel may open Gaza border checkpoint to evacuate Russians
( RIA Novosti ) - The Russian Embassy in Israel said local authorities could open a border checkpoint with Gaza to allow Russian nationals to leave the area hit by recent violence between rival Palestinian factions.
There are more than 300 nationals from Russia, Belarus, Moldova, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine on the evacuation list, most of whom are women married to Palestinians and their children.
"We have received information that the Erez checkpoint, which has been closed since June 14, could be temporarily opened today to evacuate Russian nationals from Gaza," a spokesperson for the embassy said.
Tel Aviv closed the Erez checkpoint at the northern end of the Gaza Strip, the main crossing point into Israel, following armed clashes between the two leading Palestinian factions, radical Islamic movement Hamas and pro-presidential Fatah, that left at least 100 people dead in Gaza and ended up with Hamas seizing control over Gaza.
The Russian diplomats are planning to evacuate women and children via Israel to the Jordanian capital Amman, where they should board an emergencies ministry's transport plane on route to Moscow.
Russia conducted a similar evacuation operation in July last year after a wave of violence swept through the Gaza Strip.
A humanitarian aid coordinator told RIA Novosti Tuesday that three Russian families, totaling 12 people, had been allowed to leave Gaza, but Russian diplomats have not yet confirmed this information.