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Israel-Hamas War: Aid trucks wait at Egypt’s border with Gaza after deal

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Gaza Hospital

Thousands of tonnes of aid bound for Gaza remained on the Egyptian side of the border Thursday, after US President Joe Biden struck a deal with Egypt and Israel to allow relief in.

Biden said Wednesday that Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi had agreed to “let up to 20 trucks through to begin with” to the heavily-bombarded Gaza Strip, starting Friday, giving authorities time to repair roads.

Sisi — whose spokesperson said the pair had agreed on “the sustainable delivery of aid” — has maintained that Egypt “did not close” the border, but that four rounds of Israeli air strikes on the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing have forced it shut.

An eyewitness told AFP that “150 trucks have been waiting at Rafah” — the only passage in and out of Gaza not controlled by Israel — in addition to those in the nearby Egyptian city of El Arish, where planes full of relief supplies have been arriving.

Humanitarian workers at the border again warned that the aid must be allowed in as soon as possible, as perishable supplies had already begun to spoil.

Israel cut off supplies of water, electricity, fuel and food to the long-blockaded Palestinian enclave following the October 7 Hamas assault on Israeli border communities near Gaza.

More than 1,400 people have been killed since the Hamas assault in Israel, which has responded with a withering aerial campaign that has so far killed nearly 3,500 people in Gaza.

United Nations humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths has estimated that about 100 trucks per day were needed to meet the needs in Gaza.

UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly discussed the entry of aid with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry on a visit to Cairo Thursday, as well as the evacuation of UK citizens.

Cairo is also expecting the arrival of UN chief Antonio Guterres later on Thursday, who has said the siege on Gaza must be lifted, calling for supplies of water, food, fuel and medicines to be allowed in.

Humanitarian groups have warned that basic supplies have run dangerously low in the impoverished territory of 2.4 million.

Israeli officials said the deliveries would be limited to “food, water and medicine” to the south of Gaza, but not fuel needed to power generators, including for hospitals.

 

AFP

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