Gaza Strip — Israel said Wednesday that it will allow Egypt deliver limited amounts of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Stripfor the first time in 10 days of siege of the territory. The desperation of Palestinians grew after an explosion that killed half a thousand people the night before in a hospital in Gaza City and as food and drinking water ran out.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said that The decision was approved at the request of the American president Joe Bidenwho is in the country. He said that Israel “will not prevent” deliveries of water, food and medicine as long as they are limited to civilians in the southern Gaza Strip and are not to Hamas militiamen. The statement did not mention fuel, which is also in short supply.
It was unclear when aid would begin to arrive. At the Rafah crossing, Gaza’s only connection with Egypt, trucks loaded with aid have been waiting for days. But this crossing has limited capacity, and Egypt says Israeli airstrikes have damaged it.
Meanwhile, Fury over Tuesday night’s attack on the al-Ahli hospital was spreading across the Middle East, and as Biden began his visit to Israel to try to prevent the conflict from spreading. The war began on October 7, when Hamas broke through the fence separating Gaza from southern Israel and attacked several towns.
The armed group Hamas attributed the explosion to an Israeli airstrike, while the Israeli army blamed a failed rocket by other Palestinian militants. At least 500 people diedaccording to the Hamas-run Ministry of Health.
The Associated Press has not independently verified the accounts or evidence presented by the warring parties.
Upon arriving, Biden hugged Netanyahu and later said the explosion did not appear to be Israel’s fault. “Based on what I have seen, it seems that it was the work of the other team, not you”Biden told Netanyahu in statements to the press.
Shortly after Biden’s arrival, Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel resumed after 12 hours of recess. Israeli airstrikes on Gaza also continued on Wednesday, including on southern cities that Israel had described as “safe zones” for Palestinian civilians.
After the explosion at the hospital, Jordan canceled a meeting with Biden, King Abdullah II of Jordan, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and Egyptian President Abdul Fatah El Sisi. Now Biden will only visit IsraelAccording to an official from the White House.
The war between Israel and Hamas is “taking the region to the limit”Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said on state television.
The Israeli military held a press conference on Wednesday in which it laid out its arguments as to why it was not responsible for the explosion at Al Ahli hospital. Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, chief spokesman for the armed forces, said his forces were not firing in that area.
Instead, Hagari said, An Israeli radar confirmed a round of rockets launched by the Palestinian group Islamic Jihad from a nearby cemetery at that time, around 6:59 p.m. Independent videos from the scene showed that one of the rockets had fallen from the sky, he said.
The ill-fated rocket landed in the parking lot outside the hospital. If it had been an airstrike, there would now be a crater at the site, he said, but instead the explosion came from the failed rocket’s head and unspent fuel from its propulsion system.
The Israeli military also released a recording it said was of two Hamas militants talking about the explosion, in which people said it was believed to be a failed Islamic Jihad launch and that the shrapnel appeared to be from militia weapons. not Israelis.
Hagari said the country would share its information with British and American authorities and questioned the death toll given by the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry.
Since the start of the war, some 450 rockets fired at Israel by militant groups have landed in Gaza, according to the army.
Hamas called Tuesday’s explosion at the hospital a “horrible massacre”and claimed it was caused by an Israeli attack.
Islamic Jihad rejected the Israeli claims and accused Israel of “try to evade responsibility for the brutal massacre he committed”.
The group cited Israel’s order to evacuate Al Ahli and reports of a previous attack on the hospital complex as evidence that the hospital was an Israeli target. He also claimed that the magnitude of the explosion, the angle of fall of the bomb and the extent of the destruction pointed to Israel.
Tuesday night’s explosion at Al Ahli hospital left shocking scenes. Hundreds of Palestinians had taken refuge in Al Ahli and other hospitals in Gaza City in the hope that they would be saved from shelling after Israel ordered all residents of the city and its surroundings to evacuate to the south of the territory.
Ghassan Abu Sitta, a plastic surgeon working in Al Ahli, said the hospital was full of displaced people seeking shelter from Israeli airstrikes when he heard a loud explosion and the roof of his operating room collapsed.
“The wounded began to limp towards us”, he wrote on Facebook. He saw hundreds of dead and seriously injured.
“I put a tourniquet on the thigh of a man whose leg had been blown off and then went to treat a man with a penetrating wound in the neck.”said.
Videos that The Associated Press confirmed came from the hospital showed the center’s grounds strewn with bodies, many of them young children, as flames engulfed the building. The grass around them was littered with blankets, backpacks, and other belongings. On Wednesday morning, the place was dotted with charred cars and the black remains of the fire covered the ground.
Hospital director Suhaila Tarazi said the outlook after the explosion was “Unlike anything I have ever seen or even imagined.”.
“Our hospital is a place of love and reconciliation”said. “We are all losers in this war. And it must end.”
Ambulances and private vehicles took about 350 victims to the city’s main hospital, Al Shifa, which was already overwhelmed by wounded from other attacks, said its director, Mohammed Abu Selmia.
The victims arrived with horrific injuries, according to Gaza Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra.
Doctors at the overwhelmed hospital resorted to operating on the floor and in hallways, mostly without anesthesia.
“We need equipment, medicines, beds, anesthesia, we need everything”said Abu Selmia. He warned that fuel for the hospital’s generators would run out within hours, forcing operations to be suspended entirely, if supplies did not arrive in the Gaza Strip.
Meanwhile, USA He was trying to convince Israel to allow the delivery of supplies to desperate civilians, humanitarian groups and hospitals in the tiny Gaza Strip, which has been under a total blockade since last week’s bloody Hamas attack. Hundreds of thousands of increasingly desperate people tried to get water and bread.
United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken reached an agreement with Netanyahu to discuss the creation of a mechanism to bring aid to the territory of 2.3 million people. But as of Wednesday morning the aid still did not pass through the Rafah crossing, Gaza’s only connection with Egypt, where trucks full of material have been waiting for days to cross.
Gaza’s Health Ministry reported at least 3,200 dead in the territory and 11,000 injured. Another 1,200 people are believed to be buried under rubble, dead or alive, in various parts of Gaza, according to health authorities.
In the Oct. 7 attack in southern Israel, Hamas fighters killed more than 1,400 people, mostly civilians, and took about 200 hostage. Hamas fighters have launched rockets from Gaza every day since then, targeting cities across Israel.
Throughout the Middle East, protests occurred. In Amman, a palace statement said Jordan’s king condemned “the massacre perpetrated by Israel against innocent civilians”.
The king “warned that this war, which has entered a dangerous phase, will plunge the region into an atrocious disaster”the statement stated.
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian urged Muslim countries to expel Israeli ambassadors and impose an oil embargo on Israel in protest of the explosion.
Israel, which has mobilized troops to the border, is expected to launch a ground invasion into Gaza. Meanwhile, it has continued bombing the territory, including in the southern half of the enclave, where the Israeli army told the Palestinians to go.
An attack on a three-story building in Gaza City on Wednesday killed 40 people and injured 25 more., according to survivors. In the Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza, an airstrike hit a bakery and caused a huge fire that killed four bakers, according to witnesses at the scene.
The Israeli army said it was attacking Hamas hideouts, infrastructure and command centers, and accused the militants of hiding among civilians.
Aid workers warned that the situation was becoming dangerous.
“It’s not just that people are hungry, people are at risk of famine”said Alia Zaki, spokesperson for the World Food Program (WFP). “There is a serious shortage of basic products that will run out in a matter of days.”