By Alex Crawford, special correspondent, in Egypt
The rows of ambulances in Gaza started moving towards the border crossing into Egypt from morning.
Inside were some of the most critically wounded from the recent Israeli onslaught on the territory and this was the first chance for anyone to escape the hell of what is happening on the enclave.
We managed to get through to one doctor in Khan Younis, in the south of Gaza, who’d had the difficult job of selecting 18 of his most seriously ill patients to make the crossing.
Dr Youssuf al Akkad from the Gaza European Hospital said his group was made up of 60% men and 40% women and included some children – most of the patients were suffering from brain injuries, spinal cord wounds and eye complications and need specialised treatment his hospital could not provide.
“We are in a desperate state,” he said.
“This is really a war on children with most of the dead and injured made up of women and children.”
He told us his own hospital was in danger of running out of fuel supplies in a matter of days, and he had at least a further 30 people who needed to be immediately taken across the border for medical help.
The evacuation operation is being carried out under heightened security. We saw rows of tanks and military hardware on the Egyptian side on the route to the Rafah crossing when we were in the area.
About 44 different nationalities, including Britons, have been trapped inside Gaza since the 7 October atrocities.
The UK Foreign Office has confirmed British nationals were able to cross into Egypt – but declined to say how many.
The announcement that the crossing would be opened prompted crowds to surge towards the border point, now the only exit route possible since Israel imposed a siege on the territory, cutting off electricity and water and limiting aid trucks into the area.
For the second time in more than three weeks of bombardment, Palestinians reported internet and mobile phone networks were interrupted as the border was opening.
Those who were not on the list were not allowed over. They included a mother from Manchester called Emilee Rauschenberger who has been stranded inside Gaza with her five children after travelling there to visit relatives. She said her children were aged between four and 14.
“We had no electricity… the food we had to go and find each day, water stopped so there’s no sanitary water,” she told the Sky News crew in Gaza.
The Egyptian authorities say the crossing will be opened for limited periods to allow those on the approved list to move into Egypt.