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Second aid convoy enters Gaza where supplies are scarce

Palestinians evacuate a body of woman from under the rubble after an Israeli strike on Al-Ghouti family house in Rafah in southern Gaza Strip on Sunday. Photo by Ismael Mohamad/UPI.
Palestinians evacuate a body of woman from under the rubble after an Israeli strike on Al-Ghouti family house in Rafah in southern Gaza Strip on Sunday. Photo by Ismael Mohamad/UPI. | License Photo

Oct. 23 (UPI) -- A second convoy of aid trucks has entered Gaza, a U.N. official confirmed, as resources in the embattled Palestinian enclave are near depleted.

The 14 trucks entered from Egypt via the Rafah border crossing on Sunday, Martin Griffiths, the U.N.'s emergency relief coordinator, said in a statement on X.

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"Another small glimmer of hope for the millions of people in dire need of humanitarian aid," Griffiths said. "But they need more, much more."

Israel's Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories confirmed in a statement that the aid included water, food and medical equipment, all of which "was inspected by Israeli security personnel before it was brought into Gaza."

The defense ministry agency said that the U.N. aid entered at the request of President Joe Biden, who secured a diplomatic victory late last week when he got both Egypt and Israel to agree to open the Rafah border to allow aid into the embattled Palestinian region.

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The Rafah border crossing is the only entrance into Gaza that Israel does not control.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said the amount of aid on the 14 trucks equals about 3% of the average volume of commodities that entered Gaza prior to two weeks ago.

Since Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel Oct. 7, killing 1,400 people, Israel has been incessantly bombing Gaza in retaliation, resulting in 4,651 dead Palestinians and counting.

The war has also displaced more than 1 million people in Gaza where Israel has ordered an evacuation of its northern half ahead of a widely expected ground invasion.

Officials during the war have been warning of the need for humanitarian aid as water, food, medicine and fuel are either scarce or depleted. Meanwhile, hundreds of tons of supplies were building up on the Egypt side of the Rafah border crossing.

On Thursday, Biden in Tel Aviv secured a commitment from Egypt to open its side of the border to allow 20 trucks to enter the blockaded Palestinian region and for Israel to agree not to interfere.

The Palestinian Red Crescent humanitarian organization confirmed to UPI in a Monday morning email that it had received a total of 34 trucks of aid, 20 on Saturday and 14 on Sunday.

Israel has said it will not allow any assistance to Gaza until hostages taken by Hamas in its Oct. 7 attack are released.

When Biden made the announcement, it was unclear if there would be a second convoy.

The convoy of 20 trucks entered Gaza Saturday, with the second batch entering late Sunday, as Philippe Lazzarini, head of the U.N.'s relief works agency for Palestinian refugees, warned that in three days, Gaza will run out of fuel, without which there will be no water or functioning hospitals in the enclave.

"Without fuel, aid will not reach those in desperate need. Without fuel, there will be no humanitarian assistance," Lazzarini said in an urgent call to immediately allow fuel supplies into Gaza.

"No fuel will further strangle the children, women and people of Gaza."

The Palestinian health ministry is calling on those in Gaza with gas and access to solar panels to donate what they have to hospitals immediately. According to officials, without fuel, 140 people on ventilators and 1,100 patients suffering from kidney failure will die.

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