Israeli warplanes are striking targets across Gaza ahead of an expected ground offensive in the besieged Hamas-ruled territory. Fears of a widening war have grown as Israel struck targets in the occupied West Bank, Syria and Lebanon and traded fire with Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group.
Two aid convoys arrived in the Gaza Strip over the weekend through the Rafah crossing from Egypt. Israel said the trucks carried food, water and medical supplies. Israel has not allowed in fuel, which is critically needed for water and sanitation systems and hospitals.
The war, in its 17th day Monday, is the deadliest of five Gaza wars for both sides. The Palestinian Health Ministry said Sunday that at least 4,651 people have been killed and 14,254 wounded in the territory. In the occupied West Bank, 96 Palestinians have been killed and 1,650 wounded in violence and Israeli raids since Oct. 7.
More than 1,400 people in Israel have been killed, mostly civilians who died in the initial Hamas rampage into southern Israel. In addition, 222 people including foreigners were believed captured by Hamas during the incursion and taken into Gaza, Israel’s military has said. Two of those have been released.
Here’s what’s happening in the latest Israel-Hamas war:
BRUSSELS – European Union foreign ministers are meeting Monday to discuss ways to help vital aid get into Gaza, particularly fuel, after two convoys entered over the weekend.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said that “in normal times, without war, 100 trucks enter into Gaza every day. So it’s clear that 20 is not enough.”
Borrell said the emphasis must be on getting power and water-providing desalination plants running again. “Without water and electricity, the hospitals can barely work,” he told reporters in Luxembourg, where the meeting is taking place.
He said the ministers will also look at ways to resolve the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians longer term.
“The great powers have forgotten about the Palestinian issue, thinking it was going to be solved alone, or it doesn’t matter. Yes, it matters,” Borrell said.
Several world leaders on Sunday spoke about the was between Israel and Hamas, reiterating their support for Israel and its right to defend itself against terrorism and called for adherence to humanitarian law, including the protection of civilians.
U.S. President Joe Biden, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, President Emmanuel Macron of France, Chancellor Olaf Scholz of Germany, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni of Italy and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of the United Kingdom also welcomed the release of two hostages and called for the immediate release of all remaining hostages.
They committed to close coordination to support their nationals in the region, in particular those wishing to leave Gaza.
The leaders welcomed the announcement of the first humanitarian convoys to reach Palestinians in need in Gaza and committed to continue coordinating with partners in the region to ensure sustained and safe access to food, water, medical care and other assistance required to meet humanitarian needs.
They also said they would continue close diplomatic coordination, including with key partners in the region, to prevent the conflict from spreading, preserve stability in the Middle East, and work toward a political solution and durable peace.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited troops stationed near the border with Lebanon, where the Israeli army and Iran-backed Hezbollah militants also have traded fire during the Hamas-Israel war.
A top official with Iran Hezbollah vowed Saturday that Israel would pay a high price whenever it starts a ground offensive in the Gaza Strip and said Saturday that his militant group based in Lebanon already is “in the heart of the battle.”
Speaking to troops in the north on Sunday, Netanyahu said Israel would react more fiercely than it did during its short 2006 war with Hezbollah, which is based in Lebanon.
“If Hezbollah decides to enter the war, it will miss the Second Lebanon War. It will make the mistake of its life. We will cripple it with a force it cannot even imagine and the consequences for it and the Lebanese state are devastating,” the Israeli leader said.
Israel says Sunday that a second batch of humanitarian aid was allowed into Gaza, at the request of the U.S. and according to instructions from other political officials.
On Saturday, 20 trucks entered in the first shipment into the territory since Israel imposed a complete siege two weeks ago. Sunday’s batch included only water, food, and medical equipment, with no fuel, Israel said.
U.S. President Joe Biden and Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel “affirmed that there will now be continued flow of this critical assistance into Gaza,” the White House said in a statement after a phone call between the leaders.
Earlier Sunday, Egypt’s state-run media had reported that 17 aid trucks were crossing into Gaza on Sunday, but the United Nations said no trucks had crossed.
On Sunday, Associated Press journalists saw seven fuel trucks head into Gaza. Juliette Touma, spokeswoman for U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, and the Israeli military said those trucks were taking fuel that had been stored on the Gaza side of the crossing deeper into the territory, and that no fuel had entered from Egypt.
AMMAN, Jordan – The U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees says it will run out of fuel in Gaza in three days.
“Without fuel, there will be no water, no functioning hospitals and bakeries. Without fuel, aid will not reach many civilians in desperate need. Without fuel, there will be no humanitarian assistance,” Philippe Lazzarini, the UNRWA Commissioner General, said in a statement Sunday.
A first delivery of aid that was allowed to cross into Gaza from Egypt on Saturday did not include any fuel.
“Without fuel, we will fail the people of Gaza whose needs are growing by the hour, under our watch. This cannot and should not happen,” Lazzarini said.
He called on “all parties and those with influence” to allow fuel into Gaza immediately, while ensuring that it is only used for humanitarian purposes.
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