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‘Ask Hamas if you can have some,’ IDF tells UNRWA of 132,000 gallons of fuel

“If we do not get fuel urgently, we will be forced to halt our operations in the Gaza Strip as of tomorrow night,” the U.N. agency wrote in a post that has been deleted.

An aerial view of fuel tanks in the Gaza Strip on Oct. 24, 2023. Credit: IDF/X.
An aerial view of fuel tanks in the Gaza Strip on Oct. 24, 2023. Credit: IDF/X.

Shortly after U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said that Hamas’s terrorist attack on Israel didn’t happen in a vacuum and cited more than 50 years of “occupation,” a U.N. agency posted on social media that without fuel, it will have to half all of its operations in the Gaza Strip as of Wednesday night. 

The Israel Defense Forces responded to the post from the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) with an aerial photograph that showed 12 large white vats lined up in two rows.

“These fuel tanks are inside Gaza. They contain more than 500,000 liters of fuel,” the IDF posted. “Ask Hamas if you can have some.” (That volume is about 132,000 gallons.)

On Oct. 23, U.S. State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said in the department’s press briefing that “the humanitarian organizations that are operating inside Gaza to distribute the humanitarian assistance that we have flowing in from Rafah need to have the ability to do so; they need fuel to be able to do so.”

“Fuel is important for the desalination of water; it’s important to the provision of medical care,” he added. “The Israelis do have legitimate concerns about the diversion of any fuel to Hamas. You can understand why they would be concerned about that.”

On Oct. 16, UNRWA wrote in a since-deleted social-media post that “a group of people with trucks purporting to be from the ministry of health of the de facto authorities in Gaza removed fuel and medical equipment from the agency’s compound in Gaza City.” 

Hamas controls the ministry of health.

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