Cairo on Thursday announced that humanitarian aid would enter Gaza via the Rafah border crossing, as residents of the Strip continue to move south ahead of a looming Israeli ground invasion.
“Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and U.S. President Joe Biden have agreed on the sustainable delivery of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip via the Rafah terminal,” announced Egyptian presidential spokesperson Ahmed Fahmy.
In a move criticized by families of Israelis being held hostage in Gaza by the Hamas terrorist organization, Israel’s war Cabinet on Wednesday approved the delivery by Cairo of limited humanitarian aid to Gaza—water, food and medicine.
Israel has imposed a siege on the coastal enclave since Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack, in which 1,400 people were killed, more than 4,500 wounded and at least 200 taken back to Gaza as hostages.
Following Israel’s decision, Biden warned Hamas against attempts to steal the aid, saying that it would show that the terrorist group ruling the Strip has “no concern for the welfare of the Palestinian people.”
In a statement following Biden’s visit to Tel Aviv, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he had told the U.S. president that no aid would be allowed to enter Gaza from Israel as long as Hamas held Israeli hostages. He also demanded that the Red Cross be granted access to the captives and said that the United States and Israel are working together for their return.
An organization representing family members of Israeli hostages issued a statement on Wednesday criticizing the Israeli government for giving in to U.S. and international pressure.
“The decision to allow humanitarian aid to the murderers of Gaza has caused great anger among the family members,” said the Bring Them Home Now organization.
“We remind you that children, babies, women, soldiers, men and the elderly—some of whom have serious health issues, are wounded … are being held underground like animals without any human conditions, and the government of Israel is treating the murderers to baklava and medicine,” the statement continued.
“If this horrible decision to aid the murderers of Gaza is not canceled, the families will intensify their struggle in the near future.”
Israel strikes Hamas and Hezbollah
The Israel Defense Forces continued to target Hamas terrorist infrastructure and kill terrorist operatives in the Gaza Strip as ground forces ready for an invasion. Israel has stated that its aim is the destruction of Hamas as a political and military force in Gaza.
Hundreds of targets were struck over the past 24 hours, the IDF said on Thursday morning, including anti-tank missile launch sites, tunnel shafts, intelligence infrastructure and command centers.
The IDF said that many members of Hamas’s Nukhba force, which led the Oct. 7 mass infiltration and massacre of southern Israeli communities, had been targeted.
Rafat Harb Hussein Abu Hilal, the head of the Popular Resistance Committees terrorist organization in Rafah, was also killed in an Israeli strike, according to the military.
The IDF also struck Hezbollah targets in Southern Lebanon overnight Thursday after the Iran-back terrorist group fired at Israeli territory several times throughout the day on Wednesday.
“The targets struck include an observation point facing the sea, from which anti-tank missiles were fired at Rosh HaNikra,” the IDF said.
Hamas terror cells still in Israel
The IDF said on Wednesday that Hamas terrorist cells that participated in the Oct. 7 massacre are still roaming southern Israel, hiding in the Negev Desert.
According to Israeli estimates, between 1,500 and 2,000 Hamas terrorists entered the country on Oct. 7, rampaging across Gaza border communities.
While the majority were killed or captured by Israeli forces, or returned to Gaza, the IDF believes those that remain in Israel are awaiting instructions to carry out more attacks.