Rafah, Egypt: Aid trucks waiting to cross from Egypt into Gaza are “a lifeline” which need to move into the war-torn Palestinian enclave as soon as possible, the UN chief said Friday.
“These trucks are not just trucks, they are a lifeline. They are the difference between life and death for so many people in Gaza,” said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres as he visited the Egyptian side of the Rafah crossing with Gaza to oversee preparations for the delivery of aid.
Cargo planes and trucks have been bringing humanitarian aid to Rafah for days, but so far none has been delivered to Gaza which has been under intense Israeli bombardment for almost two weeks since the deadly October 7 attacks.
On that day, Hamas militants stormed into Israel killing at least 1,400 people, mostly civilians who were shot, mutilated or burnt to death on the first day of the raid, according to Israeli officials.
Since then, more than 4,100 Palestinians, mainly civilians, have been killed in relentless Israeli bombardments, according to Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry.
Israel also cut off supplies of water, electricity, fuel and food to the long-blockaded territory of 2.4 million people after the attacks, creating chronic shortages, but UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths on Friday said the first aid delivery via Rafah would take place “in the next day or so”.
“To see (the aid trucks) stuck here makes me be very clear: what we need is to make them move… to the other side of this wall… as quickly as possible and as many as possible,” Guterres told reporters at the crossing.
The UN chief said it must be “a sustained effort” with not just one convoy crossing but for many “to be authorised in a meaningful number to have enough trucks to provide support to Gaza’s people”.
The United Nations, he said, was “actively engaging with all the parties” including Egypt, Israel, and the United States to get the trucks moving as quickly as possible.
Rafah is the only crossing into the blockaded Palestinian territory that is not controlled by Israel, which agreed to allow aid in following a request from its ally Washington.
(This story has been published from a syndicated feed.)