Initial Gaza aid deliveries set to cross from Egypt

Israeli defence minister tells troops gathered at Gaza border they will soon see the Palestinian enclave ‘from inside’, suggesting an expected ground invasion

Deliveries of aid from Egypt are expected to cross into the southern Gaza Strip on Friday as the coastal enclave’s residents continue to suffer under intense Israeli bombardment and a siege imposed in the wake of the Hamas attack of October 7th.

Aid groups warned on Thursday night, however, that the planned initial delivery of food, water and medical supplies in some 20 trucks is only a fraction of what is required to alleviate the worsening humanitarian crisis for Gaza’s 2.3 million residents.

World Health Organisation regional representative Richard Brennan said the goal was to get up to 100 trucks of aid distributed every day.

Underlining the increasingly dire conditions in Gaza and urgency of the need for aid, he said: “We’re hearing ... that suddenly people only have three litres of clean water per person per day. At an absolute minimum people need 15 litres for drinking, cooking and basic hygiene.”


War between Israel and Hamas, the militant group that governs Gaza, broke out on October 7th after Hamas gunmen stormed across the border, killing some 1,400 people in Israel, most of them civilians living in communities close to the Gaza border. Many were killed in horrific circumstances.

In response Israel has been bombing Gaza incessantly ahead of an expected ground invasion and has blocked deliveries of water, food and fuel, and cut electricity supplies, telling more than a million residents to flee their homes in the northern Gaza Strip.

US president Joe Biden secured Israel’s approval on Wednesday for aid lorries to cross into Gaza via the Rafah crossing to Egypt, but Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu said the deliveries would stop if any of the aid reached Hamas.

About 200 people were seized during the Hamas raid and taken back to Gaza, where they are being held in captivity. Israel has put the number at 203 and says the hostages include 30 children and 20 older people. Many Israelis were critical of the decision to allow humanitarian aid for the Palestinians as long as Hamas is refusing to grant the Red Cross access to the hostages.

Israeli defence minister Yoav Gallant told troops gathered at the Gaza border on Thursday that they would soon see the Palestinian enclave “from inside”, suggesting an expected ground invasion with the aim of annihilating Hamas could be nearing.

But Mr Biden, speaking to reporters on his flight back to Washington, said the US and Israeli militaries were discussing alternatives to the anticipated full invasion of Gaza, though he declined to give further details.

At least 3,785 Palestinians have been killed and 12,493 wounded in Israeli strikes on Gaza since October 7th, the health ministry in Gaza said on Thursday. As well as the 1,400 people killed in the Hamas attack on Israel, about 4,600 were injured.

Mark Weiss

Mark Weiss

Mark Weiss is a contributor to The Irish Times based in Jerusalem