Hamas is attempting to sneak militants out of the Gaza Strip among evacuating civilians.
A senior U.S. official confirmed that wounded Hamas combatants were quietly placed on evacuation lists alongside injured Palestinian civilians.
This revelation has complicated evacuation efforts that began not long after the October 7 terrorist attack on Israel.
People with foreign passports or dual citizenship have faced extreme delays as the U.S. reported unreasonable demands from Hamas holding up the process.
Israeli forces allowed Palestinians access to a key highway in the Gaza Strip for evacuation Saturday during a three-hour window that has since closed.
Refugees are being told to evacuate southbound, away from areas of armed conflict between the Israeli Defense Forces and terrorist group Hamas.
The senior U.S. official said Friday that Hamas agreed to let foreign nationals evacuate as long as a list of injured Palestinians could also depart. But about one third of the people on the list were members of Hamas, the official said.
“So it was just unacceptable to Egypt, to us, to Israel,” the official said.
Israel accused Hamas of attacking Israeli Defense Forces troops who were in place to facilitate the three-hour evacuation window.
“The terrorists fired mortars and anti-tank missiles at IDF troops who arrived and operated to open the route,” the IDF said. “No IDF injuries were reported.”
“This incident further proves that Hamas exploits the Gazan population and prevents them from acting in the interest of their own safety,” the IDF continued.
Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin contributed to this report.