New Delhi: Amid the ongoing crisis in Gaza, people are facing dire circumstances. Lives are at risk not only from bombings but also due to the consequences of the prolonged siege imposed on the Gaza Strip. Basic services are crumbling, with shortages of medicine, food, and water. Sewage overflow is creating a potential health hazard, UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini said in a press conference on Friday followed by stating the situation in Gaza
UNRWA has warned that without a stable fuel supply, its humanitarian operations are at risk. Difficult choices have been made to conserve fuel, affecting essential services such as bakeries, hospitals, and water plants. The siege’s impact on food, water, and fuel is collectively punishing over 2 million people, including many children and women.
Efforts to open a humanitarian supply line have yielded limited results, with only a few aid convoys getting through. This does not alleviate the stranglehold on Gaza. A more substantial and uninterrupted aid flow is urgently required, along with a humanitarian ceasefire to ensure it reaches those in need.
The civilian population has suffered immensely during this conflict, with millions displaced, neighbourhoods destroyed, and countless casualties. Tragically, UNRWA personnel have not been immune to the violence, with 57 colleagues confirmed killed. Despite their losses and the daily struggles, many UNRWA employees continue their work, displaying dedication and resilience.
UNRWA is committed to ensuring humanitarian aid reaches those in need, with strict monitoring mechanisms in place to prevent aid diversion. The international community’s focus on the rules of war and the application of international humanitarian law, which protects civilians and critical infrastructure, is emphasized.
Lazzarini highlights the importance of distinguishing between the Gazan civilians and Hamas, urging empathy and compassion for the people of Gaza. The suffering and tragedy in Gaza are undeniable, and the international community cannot turn a blind eye to this crisis.
In conclusion, Lazzarini intends to visit Gaza to express solidarity with the communities and UNRWA staff. Gaza holds a significant place in his humanitarian career, and he believes it’s where he needs to be during this critical time.
Ten more aid lorries enter Gaza
On this Friday morning, a medical delegation comprising ten foreign physicians entered Gaza, alongside ten trucks that crossed into the Gaza Strip via the Rafah land crossing. These vehicles were carrying essential provisions, including water, food, and medicine. The total number of trucks that have entered since the commencement of the conflict now stands at 84, officials said.
While humanitarian assistance was initially permitted to reach the region last week, humanitarian organisations and charities have consistently emphasised the urgent need for a much greater volume of aid to address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
Another major ground incursion into Gaza by the Israeli army
The Israeli military has launched another limited ground operation in Gaza, with the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) conducting targeted raids in the Gaza Strip over the past day. These operations have resulted in strikes on numerous targets associated with the Hamas group.
During the operation, IDF ground forces, supported by IDF fighter jets and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), carried out precise attacks in the central Gaza Strip. As part of these actions, IDF aircraft and artillery units targeted identified sites including anti-tank missile launch sites and military command and control centres of Hamas in the Shuja’iyya area and various locations across the Gaza Strip, the IDF spokesperson said.
The IDF has reported that its troops withdrew from the area after the operation, and no Israeli casualties were reported. Furthermore, the IDF revealed that an aircraft crashed in the Gaza Strip due to a technical malfunction, an incident currently under investigation.
Meanwhile, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) disclosed that approximately 629,000 internally displaced individuals (IDPs) have sought refuge in 150 UNRWA facilities across the Gaza Strip.
Another UNRWA staff member lost their life, bringing the total to 39 staff members killed since October 7. In the last 24 hours, three schools suffered collateral damage due to nearby strikes. One IDP lost their life in one of these impacted schools, and 15 others sustained minor injuries in a separate incident.
The situation in Gaza remains dire, with an urgent need for fuel to sustain essential humanitarian operations. Current fuel stocks are nearly depleted, causing life-saving services to come to a standstill. This includes providing piped water and fuel for critical sectors such as healthcare, bakeries, and generators.
Hamas Representative in Russia says no hostage release until ceasefire
A member of a Hamas delegation visited Moscow and met Russian foreign ministry members. Hamas representative says hostages taken from Israel, during the surprise attack on 7 October, cannot be freed until a ceasefire is agreed, local media reports. In an interview with the Russian newspaper Kommersant, Abu Hamid explained that Hamas requires time to locate all who were captured during the attack, which predominantly consisted of civilians.
Hamid was quoted as saying, “They seized dozens of people, most of them civilians, and we need time to find them in the Gaza Strip and then release them.” To date, only four hostages have been released, and these releases were attributed to “humanitarian reasons.” The first to regain their freedom were Judith and Natalie Raanan on October 20th, followed by the elderly individuals Yocheved Lifschitz (85 years old) and Nurit Cooper (79 years old) on a subsequent Monday.
Meanwhile, Russia has taken a stance of maintaining communication with all parties involved in the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin’s spokesperson, defended Russia’s decision to host the Hamas delegation in Moscow, which had sparked criticism from Israel.
Israeli military now estimates 229 people are being held hostage by Hamas
In the latest update, the Israeli military now estimates that 229 individuals are being held hostage by Hamas in Gaza. This number has been revised several times since their capture on October 7th. Additionally, the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) reported the targeted killing of Shadi Barud, the deputy head of the intelligence arm of Hamas, who was allegedly involved in planning the attacks that occurred on October 7th.
No coordination with Israel on Syria strikes – US officials
U.S. officials have stated that they did not coordinate with Israel nor provide advance notice of the recent air strikes in eastern Syria. This information was conveyed during a Pentagon briefing. It was emphasized that these strikes were unrelated to the Israel-Hamas conflict and did not represent a shift in the U.S. approach to that particular conflict.
The purpose of these strikes, according to Pentagon officials, was to send a clear message to Iran. They seek specific actions from Iran to direct its militias and proxies to stand down. The strikes targeted weapons and ammunition storage facilities used by Iranian forces near the town of Abu Kamal, located on the Iraq-Syria border. The operation was executed around 04:30 local time (01:30 GMT) using F-16 fighter jets and precision munitions.