When Swiss citizen Ibrahim al-Qarnaoui set off for a short trip to visit family in the Gaza Strip earlier this month, he thought he'd only be there for a few days.

But after border crossings out of the besieged Palestinian enclave were shut in response to a deadly Hamas attack on Israel just over a week ago, he and other foreign passport holders have been stuck in the territory, currently facing heavy Israeli bombardment.

"The embassy told us yesterday to come to Rafah," he said of Gaza's only border crossing not controlled by Israel, which Egypt has kept closed, preventing any Palestinians or foreigners from fleeing.