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Israel-Hamas War: Trucks carrying desperately-needed humanitarian aid cross into Gaza from Rafah border

The first convoy of 20 trucks carrying essential supplies of water, medicine and food have been allowed to enter Gaza. Israel had allowed Egypt to deliver limited humanitarian aid desperately sought by Palestinians amid dire conditions following Israel's 'complete siege'.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Gaza Published on: October 21, 2023 13:54 IST
Palestinian trucks line up to receive humanitarian aid from
Image Source : AP Palestinian trucks line up to receive humanitarian aid from Egypt

The border crossing between Egypt and Gaza finally opened to allow trucks carrying humanitarian aid into the conflict-torn Strip where Palestinians are in desperate need of food, water and fuel following Israel's complete siege.

Over 200 trucks carrying roughly 3,000 tonnes of humanitarian aid for those deeply affected by the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas were stationed at the border. The territory was blockaded by Israeli forces following a surprise attack by Hamas militants. As of now, only 20 trucks were allowed to enter Gaza before the border was closed again, reports CNN.

Hundreds of foreign passport holders also waited to cross from Gaza to Egypt to escape the conflict. Aid workers on the Egyptian side of the crossing could be seen chanting and clapping as trucks passed through the main gate to Gaza.

Many people in Gaza were reduced to eating one meal a day and without enough water to drink, while hospitals were overflowing with the deceased and injured civilians. Hospital workers were also in urgent need of medical supplies and fuel for their generators as they treated huge numbers of people wounded in retaliatory airstrikes by Israel.

Following Israel's blockade, Palestinians were forced to ration food and drink filthy water from wells, while hospital workers started running low on medicine and fuel. The United Nations and other countries appealed to Israel to allow Egypt to allow humanitarian aid to reach Gaza.

A line of empty flatbed trucks could be seen moving on the Gaza side, perhaps in preparation for bringing in the desperately needed aid. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres worked with the US, Egypt and Israel to overcome the “impasse” preventing the trucks from entering,

On Thursday, Israel allowed Egypt to deliver limited humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip after a visit by US President Joe Biden. Israel said the supplies could only go to civilians and that it would “thwart” any diversions by Hamas.

Israel-Hamas war

The opening came hours after Hamas released an American woman and her teenage daughter, the first captives to be freed after Hamas attack on Israel. The released civilians were identified as Judith Raanan and her 17-year-old daughter, Natalie, as Hamas claimed they were released for 'humanitarian reasons'.

Hamas said in a statement that it was working with mediators “to close the case” of hostages if security circumstances permit. The group said it is committed to mediation efforts by Egypt, Qatar and others.

There are growing expectations of a ground offensive that Israel says would be aimed at rooting out Hamas, as Defence Minister Yoav Gallant ordered soldiers to remain prepared. More than 1,400 people - including civilians and soldiers - have been killed in the Hamas attack on Israel.

On the other hand, over 4,100 people have been killed in Gaza, according to the Health Ministry run by Hamas. That includes a disputed number of people who died in a hospital explosion earlier this week.

Hamas officials in Gaza blamed an Israeli airstrike, saying hundreds were killed. Israel denied it was involved and released a flurry of video, audio and other information that it said showed the blast was instead due to a rocket misfire by Islamic Jihad, another militant group operating in Gaza. Islamic Jihad dismissed that claim.

The bloody devastation at al-Ahli hospital, an ongoing dispute between Israel and Hamas, threw the siege’s impact into sharp relief. Video from the scene showed the hospital grounds strewn with torn bodies, many of them young children. 

Meanwhile, Biden announced $100 million in humanitarian aid for Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. Scores of Palestinians have lost or fled their homes during the intense Israeli bombardment. 

(with inputs from agencies)

ALSO READ | Biden says Hamas attacked Israel to stop historic agreement with Saudi Arabia

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