After 11 days of bombing, Israel decides to allow aid into Gaza via Egypt’s border

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Israel would permit aid to enter Gaza via Egypt, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said on Wednesday, only “food, water, and medicine” will be permitted into the blockaded Palestinian enclave.

“In light of [US] President [Joe] Biden´s demand, Israel would not foil the supply of humanitarian aid via Egypt,” the prime minister’s office said, announcing a cabinet decision.

The statement noted that aid to civilians in the southern Gaza Strip would be allowed “so long as these supplies do not reach Hamas”, which rules Gaza.

While Israel said it would allow for aid to pass through Egypt, it maintained that supplies would not come from its own territory until Hamas released the dozens of hostages it took in a massive attack on October 7, which spiralled into an all-out war.

“Israel demands Red Cross visits with our captives and is working to mobilise broad international support for this demand,” the statement added.

Water, fuel and food supplies are running low in Gaza, under a crippling Israeli-led blockade since Hamas took power in 2007.

Israel effectively sealed off the coastal enclave following the October 7 attack.

The Israeli announcement came as Biden ended a high-stakes visit, where he offered Israeli leaders continued US support and backed his ally’s stance that Palestinian “militants” were behind a deadly rocket strike on a Gaza hospital.

Nearly 3,500 people have lost their lives in Gaza, which is nearly out of electricity, food, water and fuel.

While more than 1,400 Israelis have been killed in the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.

A rocket strike hit a hospital in Gaza late on Tuesday. The strike killed hundreds of Palestinians, according to the Hamas-led Gaza health ministry.

While world leaders have condemned the incident and protests have erupted around the Arab world and Muslim countries, Israel and Palestinian groups have traded blame for the strike.

At around 1700 GMT on Tuesday, the health ministry in Gaza said an Israeli air strike had hit the Christian-run Ahli Arab Hospital in central Gaza City. Israel denied it was responsible, pinning the blame on a misfired rocket aimed at Israeli territory fired by the Palestinian group Islamic Jihad from inside Gaza near the hospital.

The Gaza health ministry said at least 471 people had been killed and over 300 wounded, some in critical condition.

AFP correspondents saw dozens of bodies at the scene. Medics and civilians recovered bodies wrapped in white cloth, blankets or black plastic bags. Bloodstains and torched cars could be seen in the hospital courtyard.

Images of the hospital after the strike published by the Maxar satellite monitoring group show the hospital buildings mainly appeared to be intact.

Maxar said their images reveal “a probable discoloured blast area in the main parking area of the hospital compound” with no “significant structural damage to the adjacent buildings”.

US says Israel ‘not responsible’ for hospital strike

US intelligence shows Israel was not to blame for a strike on a Gaza hospital, the White House said Wednesday, as President Joe Biden said it appeared to be the result of a misfired rocket fired by a “terrorist group”.

Biden has backed Israel’s insistence that it did not carry out Tuesday’s hospital strike that killed several hundred people. The Palestinian group Hamas says Israel was responsible.

“While we continue to collect information, our current assessment, based on analysis of overhead imagery, intercepts and open source information, is that Israel is not responsible for the explosion at the hospital in Gaza yesterday,” National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said on social media.

Islamic bloc condemns ‘impunity’ for Israel in Gaza war

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Wednesday denounced Israel’s backers for granting the country “impunity” in its war in Gaza, as US President Joe Biden conducted a solidarity visit.

The 57-member bloc of Muslim-majority countries “deplores the international positions that back the brutal aggression against the Palestinian people, and grant Israel impunity, taking advantage of the double standards that provide cover for the occupying power”, said an OIC statement published after an emergency meeting of foreign ministers.

The same statement blamed Israel for a rocket strike on Gaza’s Christian-run Ahli Arab Hospital that killed 471 people according to Gaza’s Hamas-controlled health ministry.

Arab countries have also individually blamed Israel for the incident that has inflamed anger across the Middle East.

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