Israeli leaders rally behind Netanyahu after ICC requests assurances: Latest updates

One of the first aid shipments to reach the Gaza Strip via a US-built dock was looted, officials said on Monday, highlighting the ongoing challenge of providing humanitarian assistance. safely in a territory suffering from severe shortages of food and other needs.

Saturday’s failed delivery came two days after a floating pier built by the US military at an estimated cost of more than $300 million was connected to the Mediterranean shore in central Gaza. The US State Department did not respond to a request for comment.

According to Abeer Etefa, a spokesman for the World Food Program, a crowd of Palestinians blocked a convoy of trucks carrying goods from the dock, hurriedly took the goods and fled. Two senior Western officials and Majdi Fathi, a Gazan photojournalist, confirmed Ms. Etefa’s account. The officials requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

Aid groups and the United Nations blame Gaza’s famine crisis on Israel’s restrictions on aid to the enclave and on black marketeers who confiscated supplies to sell at inflated prices. Israeli officials insisted that enough supplies had entered the territory and accused Hamas of stealing and hoarding aid.

For months, as famine threatened Gaza, Palestinians forcibly loaded aid onto trucks. United Nations officials say the looting reflects the desperation of ordinary people trying to feed themselves and their families, and they say it has decreased as large amounts of aid continue to flow in. into this area.

On Saturday, 11 of the 16 trucks carrying aid that left the dock were hijacked while en route to a World Food Program warehouse, Ms. Etefa said, adding that the food aid agency The company has suspended deliveries from the dock on Sunday and Monday.

Footage taken by Mr. Fathi shows dozens of men chaotically snatching and throwing supply crates from under a truck near the Gaza coast. In an interview, Mr. Fathi, 43, a freelance photographer, said a large number of people gathered on the North-South coastal road after hearing about a group of trucks passing through the area the previous day. .

“They completely emptied them,” he said.

In recent days, aid has been delivered from the dock to the Israeli-controlled Gaza area. Here, it is unloaded from one convoy of trucks and loaded onto another convoy of trucks before being transported to residential areas. It is unclear what arrangements were made to protect the trucks once they left the Israeli-controlled area.

On Friday, 10 trucks carrying aid from the docks, including high-energy biscuits, arrived at the WFP warehouse without incident, Ms. Etefa said.

She said incidents like Saturday’s would recur as long as insufficient food aid reached people in Gaza, and that more Israeli-approved aid delivery routes were needed to avoid crowds.

Aid deliveries through the two main border crossings in southern Gaza increased sharply in April and early May, although they remained below levels aid groups say are needed.

But since Israel invaded the eastern sector of the southern city of Rafah on May 7 and closed the border there, aid shipments via southern routes has almost stopped, according to the United Nations’ main agency for aid to the Palestinians. The agency, known as UNRWA, said that in the 15-day period through Monday, just 69 aid trucks passed through the two crossings – the lowest rate since the first weeks of the war.

In April, US officials told reporters they hoped the initial dock operations would bring in enough aid for about 90 trucks a day, before ramping up to 150 trucks a day.

The war-torn territory with some 2.2 million civilians is more dependent than ever on humanitarian aid. The devastation from seven months of war and strict Israeli checks and restrictions on crossing points have limited what can enter Gaza.

Eric Schmitt contributed reporting to this article.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *