U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres toured on Friday the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip, ahead of the expected delivery of aid to the Hamas-ruled enclave.
The first delivery is expected to take place “in the next day or so,” a spokesman for U.N. humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths said on Friday.
“We are in deep and advanced negotiations with all relevant sides to ensure that an aid operation in Gaza starts as quickly as possible,” he added.
An Egyptian presidential spokesperson said on Thursday that 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.”
Israel’s war Cabinet on Wednesday approved the delivery by Cairo of limited humanitarian aid to Gaza—water, food and medicine.
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.”
An organization representing family members of Israeli hostages issued a statement on Wednesday criticizing Jerusalem 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.
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.