A convoy of trucks delivering medical supplies to a Gaza hospital was struck Tuesday, Red Cross officials say, amid dwindling medical supplies and calls for humanitarian pauses as Israel’s war with Gaza militant group Hamas prolongs into its second month.
The convoy containing five trucks and two International Committee of the Red Cross vehicles “came under fire” Tuesday night while traveling to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society’s Al Quds hospital, the ICRC said Wednesday, though the organization did not say who launched the strike.
The strike comes as ICRC chief surgeon Tom Potokar warned in a press release Wednesday health officials in Gaza are “really running out of things now,” adding medical staff “are getting very worn out” and there is “not much food.”
The death toll in Gaza has surpassed 10,500 since Israel declared war on Hamas following the militant group’s deadly attack on Israel last month, according to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry — more than 1,400 people have died in Israel over the same period, with the majority killed by Hamas’ October 7 military assault on southern Israel.
Foreign leaders, meanwhile, have pushed for pauses in the conflict to allow for humanitarian aid into Gaza as well as the release of Israeli hostages, with officials in the Group of 7 (including the U.S., Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the U.K.) issuing a statement in favor of “humanitarian pauses and corridors,” but stopping short of a plea for a full ceasefire.
Italy’s defense minister Guido Crosetto announced Wednesday Italy will send a hospital ship carrying 170 staff members to Gaza’s coast, multiple outlets reported, making Italy the latest country to provide medical aid as officials warn of harrowing effects of a growing humanitarian crisis as the war enters its second month.
Jordan, a key U.S. ally in the Middle East, also airdropped “urgent medical aid” into Gaza on Monday, the country’s King Abdullah II posted on X, overcoming a logjam of supplies and bypassing Israel and Egypt’s blockade on Gaza, though Israel’s Defense Forces later confirmed it coordinated the airdrop with Jordan.
Just over a week after Hamas’ attack on Israel, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu approved the delivery of humanitarian aid from Egypt, including food, medicine and water, for civilians in the southern tip of Gaza, though the prime minister cautioned the approval is conditional on those supplies not reaching Hamas. Two weeks into the fighting, as Israel’s Defense Forces launched retaliatory strikes on Gaza, Israeli officials instructed civilians in northern Gaza, including densely populated Gaza City, to evacuate to a “humanitarian zone” in the southern part of the territory. The first deliveries of supplies entered Gaza on October 21 through the Rafah border crossing from Egypt, the only entry point to Gaza not controlled by Israel. The first foreigners in the territory started leaving through the border crossing earlier this month. World Health Organization officials, however, cautioned at the time the deliveries were far from meeting what was required to address a growing humanitarian crisis in the war-torn territory.
The Biden administration has since joined a group of western officials calling for pauses in the conflict to allow for humanitarian aid to be delivered. Calls from the UN and other countries for a ceasefire have been rebuffed by Netanyahu, who said in a press conference last week Israel would not agree to a temporary ceasefire without the release of Israeli hostages.
In an interview with ABC News’ David Muir, Netanyahu on Tuesday reiterated his refusal for an outright ceasefire without the release of hostages, but indicated he would be open to “tactical little pauses” to allow aid to be delivered into Gaza, as well as for hostages to be released. Those pauses, if approved, would last only “an hour here or an hour there,” Netanyahu said.