update deskIsrael at War

Israel to try new ways to deliver aid after deadly stampede

Options include maintaining IDF control of the convoys and trucks entering the Strip from the north.

Trucks with humanitarian aid arrive in southern Gaza via the Rafah border crossing from Egypt, Nov. 2, 2023. Photo by Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90.
Trucks with humanitarian aid arrive in southern Gaza via the Rafah border crossing from Egypt, Nov. 2, 2023. Photo by Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90.

The Israel Defense Forces will try new methods to deliver humanitarian aid to Gazans this week following a deadly stampede in Gaza City on Feb. 29.

Gazan civilians mobbed trucks carrying humanitarian aid supplies during the incident, as seen by aerial footage released by the IDF.

“The majority of Palestinians were killed or injured as a result of the stampede,” IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said on Sunday.

One option being considered is for the truck convoys carrying food and medicine to be secured by IDF troops rather than handed off to local guards, an Israeli official told The Times of Israel on Sunday.

On Feb. 24, the War Cabinet decided to start transferring humanitarian supplies directly to the northern Gaza Strip to bypass the Hamas terrorist group, and the official mentioned this as a possibility to start this week.

According to the plan, trucks carrying supplies bound for the parts of Gaza already conquered by Israeli forces will enter the Karni cargo crossing near Gaza City, which was permanently closed in 2011.

On Dec. 15, Israel’s Security Cabinet approved the opening of the Kerem Shalom crossing to southern Gaza for the transfer of aid to the Strip after intense U.S. and international pressure. All the Israeli crossings to Gaza had been shuttered after the Oct. 7 massacre, with only Egypt’s Rafah crossing from Sinai remaining open.

However, Hamas has been stealing up to 60% of the aid entering the Gaza Strip.

A northern entry point would avoid the trucks having to travel through active combat zones in the southern and central Strip.

“We expect to see much more humanitarian aid reaching northern Gaza,” the official said.

U.S. CENTCOM commander Gen. Michael E. Kurilla visited the Rafah crossing on Feb. 27. While there, he discussed the delivery of humanitarian aid with representatives of several international and nongovernmental organizations, the Egyptian Second Field Army (responsible for northern Sinai and the northern Suez Canal) and U.S. embassy leadership.

“The administrators described the challenges, opportunities and level of support from the international community to increase the throughput of supplies into Gaza,” according to CENTCOM’s Sunday recap of last week’s visit, which also included visits to Israel, Jordan and Syria.

Kurilla also discussed humanitarian aid to Gaza while in Israel and Jordan, according to the statement.

In his meetings with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi and other members of the defense establishment, Israeli and regional security concerns were discussed.

“I held an important discussion with US CENTCOM commander General Kurilla about rising regional challenges as a result of Iranian aggression via proxies. We underscored the importance of close cooperation between U.S. and Israeli forces to ensuring regional stability and security,” Gallant said after the meeting, according to a Defense Ministry statement on Monday.

“I thanked the general for his leadership and commitment to the powerful bond between our militaries, defense establishments and nations. We are fighting to defend our freedom and our common values,” Gallant continued.

The date that the meeting took place was not specified, but according to CENTCOM, Kurilla was in Israel from Feb. 28 until March 2.

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