Humanitarian aid convoys have started entering Gaza from Egypt through the Rafah border, crossing more than two weeks after the war broke out.
Egyptian state television showed a number of trucks entering the gate earlier today (Saturday, October 21).
The carrier vehicles are filled with trauma and chronic disease medicine provided by the World Health Organization (WHO), along with basic essential medicines and food. They crossed over into Gaza under a deal brokered between the US, Israel, and Egypt.
The deliveries were subject to conditions by the Israelis who said further consignments of humanitarian supplies would depend on whether this first load was distributed without Hamas involvement.
The Hamas media office released a statement saying that the twenty truckloads of aid “will not change the catastrophic medical conditions in Gaza.”
Michael Ryan, the emergencies director of the WHO, said supplies needed to be allowed into Gaza “every day” and that the initial convoy was a “drop in the ocean.”
Gaza has been under a total blockade by Israel since the October 7th attack by Hamas, which means essential workers and other people have not been able to enter or escape. Commissioner-general of UN relief agency UNRWA, told the BBC that about five hundred trucks a day had been entering Gaza before the war began.
UNRWA said access to clean water was severely limited in Gaza, and told the BBC “concerns over dehydration and waterborne diseases are high.” Israel said the siege—blocking humanitarian aid to Gaza—would not end until Hamas released all hostages.
The Israel and Hamas Conflict Timeline
On Friday, Hamas released two US hostages, the first to be released since the organization’s attack two weeks ago. A Hamas spokesperson said eighteen Christian Palestinians were killed in an explosion within the walls of the Saint Porphyrios Church in Gaza City on Thursday night, but this has not been verified.
Palestinian authorities also said at least 471 people were killed by an explosion at the Al-Ahli Arab hospital in Gaza City on Thursday, October 17th. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) claim this number has been lied about but is yet to release its own death toll figure.
Hamas claims it was an Israeli air strike, but the Israeli forces said it was a failed rocket launched by Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ). The IDF pointed to the absence of a large crater or blast damage to nearby building to support their claim. PIJ refutes the claim.
The Hamas attack on October 7th killed more than 1,400 people and took 200 hostages. Israel launched retaliatory air strikes, which Palestinian health officials say have killed more than four thousand people in Gaza.