By NAJIB JOBAIN, JACK JEFFERY and LEE KEATH
RAFAH, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israel’s military says its ground troops have advanced to “the gates of Gaza City” amid heavy fighting. After more than three weeks of siege, the first Palestinians were allowed to leave Gaza on Wednesday. They were hundreds of dual passport holders and dozens of seriously injured people. Israeli airstrikes pounded a densely populated area for the second day in a row. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced plans to visit the region this week, as Jordan, a key U.S. ally, recalled its ambassador from Israel in protest over the “humanitarian catastrophe” in Gaza.