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Gaza's aid needs grow as death toll passes 9,000

Palestinians loot a truck with humanitarian aid near the Rafah border crossing in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023   -  
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Hatem Ali/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.

Gaza City

Hundreds of foreign nationals and dozens of seriously injured Palestinians have been allowed to leave Gaza for the first time since the Israel-Hamas war began more than three weeks ago. Their departures through the Rafah crossing into Egypt follow the release of four hostages by Hamas and the rescue of an Israeli soldier.

The opening of the border crossing came as Israeli forces advanced deeper into Gaza and airstrikes on Wednesday struck a refugee camp for a second time in as many days.

Communications and internet services were gradually being restored after the second major cut in five days, according to Paltel, the main telecommunications provider. Humanitarian aid agencies have warned that such blackouts severely disrupt their work in an already dire situation in Gaza.

U.S. President Joe Biden said Wednesday he thinks there should be a humanitarian “pause” in the Israel-Hamas war in order to get “prisoners” out.

Biden was speaking at a fundraiser for his 2024 reelection campaign when a protester interrupted him, calling for a ceasefire.

“I think we need a pause,” Biden said in response. “A pause means give time to get the prisoners out.”

Israeli ground troops have advanced to Gaza City in heavy fighting with militants following Hamas’ killing of roughly 1,400 Israelis on Oct. 7.