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U.S. encourages its citizens in Gaza to move closer to Egypt's Rafah crossing

Palestinians with dual citizenship gather outside Rafah border crossing with Egypt

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. government is encouraging its citizens in Gaza to move south toward the Rafah crossing with Egypt to be ready for its possible reopening amid the humanitarian crisis in the coastal enclave after a Hamas attack in Israel drew Israeli military retaliation, the State Department said on Saturday.

"We have informed U.S. citizens in Gaza with whom we are in contact that if they assess it to be safe, they may wish to move closer to the Rafah border crossing," a State Department spokesperson said. "There may be very little notice if the crossing opens and it may only open for a limited time."

(Reporting By Matt Spetalnick; editing by Diane Craft)