On Saturday morning, the Rafah gate reopened temporarily, allowing the first convoy of assistance vehicles to enter the restricted Gaza Strip. Humanitarian aid has been stalled in Egypt for days, while the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza has worsened. The enclave is rapidly running out of food, water, gasoline, and medical supplies, all while being bombarded with airstrikes.
The vehicles that passed the Rafah border to deliver help to Gaza early Saturday carried food, water, and medical supplies but no fuel.
According to Egyptian authorities at the Rafah border crossing, 13 trucks were transporting medication and medical supplies, five trucks were transporting food, and two vehicles were transporting water.
On Saturday, a Palestinian border crossing spokeswoman said that the aid trucks do not have “enough” materials to supply even one school in Gaza.
Wael Abu Mohsen, head of media on the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing, also informed Saudi state broadcaster Al Hadath TV on Saturday that fuel had not been delivered, despite the supply of fuel running exceedingly short at hospitals and schools in Gaza.
According to Israel Defense Forces (IDF) representative Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, no fuel reached Gaza in the assistance convoy on Saturday.
A top relief agency official told reporters the day before that a lack of fuel, water, and electricity was rendering Gaza’s hospitals “unfunctional” and, in some circumstances, “out of service.”
Palestinian officials cautioned on Saturday that the amount of Israeli aid that has arrived in Gaza is “insufficient” to alleviate the growing humanitarian situation.
Salama Marouf, the head of the Hamas-controlled government media office, stated that the relief convoy will not be able to alter the humanitarian disaster that the territory of Gaza is currently facing, emphasizing the importance of establishing a secure hallway that works around the clock to fulfill the beneficial and service needs that are currently completely inadequate.
Ministry of Health in Gaza Says
According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza, the number of fatalities in Gaza since October 7 has grown to 4,385, as the territory continues to be bombarded by Israeli bombs and humanitarian agencies warn hospitals are running low on fuel and supplies.
On Friday, a Hamas-controlled ministry spokesperson warned that 7 hospitals and 21 primary care health centers had been left “out of service” and that 64 medical personnel had been slain.
The World Food Programme (WFP) has stated that assistance deliveries to Gaza must continue, following the first shipment of aid allowed into the beleaguered territory on Saturday morning.
A group of 20 trucks crossed through the Rafah gate on their way to bring supplies to the seaside enclave, where a crisis is fast worsening.
On Saturday, UNICEF said it was able to drive enough water supplies for 22,000 people across the Rafah crossing into Gaza for one day.
Over 44,000 bottles of drinking water provided by UNICEF were transported through the Rafah Crossing today as part of a 20-truck convoy with the Egyptian Red Crescent, the World Health Organization, and the World Food Programme, according to a UNICEF statement.
Hamas Set Free Two U.S. Hostages
Nearly two weeks after launching a horrific attack in Israel and kidnapping around 200 people, Hamas has set free two American hostages, Judith Tai Raanan and her 17-year-old daughter Natalie Raanan.
The US individuals were handed over at the Gaza border and are now in the custody of the Israel Defense Forces, according to IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari on Friday.
The United States welcomes the release and shares the comfort that their families, friends, and loved ones are experiencing, according to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a press conference.
US President Joe Biden, who talked by phone with the freed hostages on Friday, said he is “overjoyed” that the mother and daughter will soon rejoin their family. According to a US official, Israel previously informed the US government that certain Americans held prisoner by Hamas are known to be alive.
The liberation of two American hostages is an emotional event for the families of the other 200 Hamas hostages. Many of those families were at an event in Tel Aviv earlier on Friday, before the two hostages were released, where a Shabbat meal was arranged with 200 empty place settings, each representing a prisoner.
Among those in attendance were the parents of Omer Shem Tov, 21, who was captured by Hamas on October 7 while visiting the Nova music festival.
Omer’s parents spoke with journalist Kaitlan Collins about the frantic and scared moments they last received from their son over the phone before the Hamas onslaught began.
Malki Shem Tov, Omer’s father, recalled how each call became increasingly anxious as Omer and his pals attempted to flee the Hamas attackers. He remembered Omer telling him, “I love you, I love you,” on the telephone.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) announced in a statement that it is now certain that 210 people are being kept hostage in Gaza, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, the military’s spokeswoman, told the media at a briefing on Saturday.
The announcement comes a day after Hamas released two American hostages, Judith Tai Raanan and her 17-year-old daughter Natalie Raanan, nearly two weeks after its devastating attack on Israel.
After their release, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that his government would continue to seek to secure the release of all captives.
Two of our captives have returned home. We shall not relent in our efforts to recover all abductees and missing persons. Simultaneously, we will battle until victory is achieved, Netanyahu declared in a social media statement on Friday.