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Trucks carrying humanitarian aid enter the Gaza Strip through the the Kerem Shalom crossing border Alamy Stock Photo
Gaza

Medicines for hostages and other aid arrives in Gaza as Israel continues strikes

A top Hamas official set new conditions for providing the drugs, insisting Israel must not inspect the trucks carrying them.

LAST UPDATE | 17 Jan

MEDICINES FOR HOSTAGES in Gaza and humanitarian aid for civilians entered the war-torn Palestinian territory this evening under a deal mediated by Doha and Paris, Qatar announced.

“Over the past few hours, medicine and aid entered the Gaza Strip, in implementation of the agreement announced yesterday for the benefit of civilians in the Strip, including hostages,” Qatar’s foreign ministry spokesman Majed Al Ansari wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

Under the agreement thrashed out on Tuesday, medicines along with humanitarian aid are to be supplied to civilians in Gaza in exchange for delivering drugs needed by hostages held there.

Forty-five hostages are expected to receive medication according to the agreement between Israel and Hamas.

Earlier, two Qatari planes carrying medicines arrived in the Egyptian city of El-Arish, near the Rafah border crossing, Qatar’s foreign ministry said.

A senior member of Hamas’ political bureau revealed new conditions for the delivery of medicines to hostages.

“For every box of medicine that goes in for them, 1,000 boxes will go in for residents of Gaza,” he said on X, formerly Twitter.

Israel to strike Gaza’s south, where the medicines and other aid was expected to be delivered for the hostages.

Cogat, an Israeli defence body in charge of Palestinian civilian affairs, said the trucks carrying the shipment will be inspected by Israeli authorities before entering Gaza.

On Monday, the World Health Organization said that “without the ability to produce or import food, the entire population of Gaza relies on aid to survive”. 

“But humanitarian aid alone cannot meet the essential needs of the Gaza people,” the WHO said in its statement.

It said the the United Nations, international aid agencies and non-governmental organisations have so far managed to deliver “limited humanitarian assistance” in Gaza.

They added that “the quantities fall far short of what is needed to prevent a deadly combination of hunger, malnutrition, and disease”.

“The shortage of food, clean water, and medical assistance is particularly severe in the northern areas,” it said. 

Khan Yunis strikes

Meanwhile, air strikes and artillery fire targeted Khan Yunis throughout the night, said an AFP correspondent in the southern Gaza Strip’s biggest city.

“It was the most difficult and intense night in Khan Yunis since the start of the war,” said Gaza’s Hamas government.

A surgeon for Médecins Sans Frontiéres/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in Nasser hospital in Khan Yunis said Israeli forces heavily bombed the area close to the hospital last night and claimed there was no prior evacuation order. 

During a visit to the hospital yesterday, MSF head of mission for Palestine Leo Cans said that Nasser, now Gaza’s largest functioning health facility, was operating at 300% capacity, adding “the situation is catastrophic. There are way too many patients for the staff to handle”.

“The fighting is very close to us. We hear a lot of bombing around, a lot of shooting around,” Cans said during his visit. 

Fighting has ravaged Gaza since Hamas’s unprecedented 7 October attacks on Israel that resulted in the death of about 1,140 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.

At least 24,448 Palestinians, about 70% of them women, young children and adolescents, have been killed in Israeli bombardments and ground assaults, according to the Gaza health ministry’s latest figures.

palestinians-walk-through-destruction-by-the-israeli-bombardment-in-the-nusseirat-refugee-camp-in-gaza-strip-tuesday-jan-16-2024-ap-photoadel-hana Palestinians walk through destruction by the Israeli bombardment in the Nusseirat refugee camp in Gaza Strip Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

Israel’s army announced the death of one soldier today, bringing to 193 the total number killed in Gaza since ground operations began in late October.

Hamas and other militants seized about 250 hostages during the 7 October attacks, and around 132 remain in Gaza, including at least 27 believed to have been killed.

The United Nations says the conflict has displaced roughly 85% of Gaza’s 2.4 million people, many of whom have been forced to crowd into shelters and struggle to get food, water, fuel and medical care.

West Bank violence

Violence has also surged in the Israeli-occupied West Bank since 7 October to a level not seen since the second Palestinian intifada, or uprising, between 2000 and 2005.

Israeli army raids and attacks by settlers have killed around 365 people in the territory, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

The ministry said five people were killed inside Tulkarem refugee camp, with the Israeli military confirming an air strike that killed “a number of terrorists”.

Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, the armed wing of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas’s Fatah party, said five of its fighters died in a strike east of the city of Nablus.

The Israeli army said it killed a Palestinian militant to avert an “imminent terrorist attack” he had been planning.

Fears are also mounting that the Israel-Hamas conflict will trigger an all-out conflict across the Middle East, with growing violence involving allies of the Iran-backed Hamas.

The US military said it carried out fresh strikes in Yemen yesterday after the country’s Iran-backed Huthi rebels claimed another missile attack on a cargo ship in the Red Sea.

It came just days after the United States and Britain bombed scores of targets inside Houthi-controlled Yemen in response to attacks by the rebels, who say they are targeting Israeli-linked shipping in solidarity with Gaza.

With reporting by Press Association and - © AFP 2024 

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