Some UN humanitarian aid trucks enter Gaza following delays

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Some trucks were transporting aid to Palestinian civilians in the besieged Gaza Strip on Tuesday, the United Nations said as US President Joe Biden dubbed humanitarian efforts to deliver help via a crossing from Egypt as “not fast enough.”

The United Nations had earlier said about 20 trucks had been unable to cross into Gaza from Egypt via the Rafah crossing on Tuesday. The Palestinian Red Crescent later said eight trucks had arrived in Gaza late on Tuesday carrying water, food and medicine.

“We can confirm that some trucks are currently heading to Rafah to deliver supplies to Gaza,” said UN aid spokesperson Eri Kaneko, without saying how many.

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The United States is negotiating with Israel, Egypt and the United Nations to try and create a sustained delivery mechanism to get aid into Gaza. They are wrangling over procedures for inspecting aid and bombardments on the Gaza side of the border.

When asked by reporters at the White House on Tuesday whether aid was getting to Gaza as fast as needed, Biden said: “not fast enough.”

Rafah is the main crossing in and out of Gaza that does not border Israel. It has become the focus of efforts to deliver aid since Israel imposed a “total siege” of the enclave in retaliation for an attack by Hamas militants on Oct. 7.

Since limited aid deliveries began on Saturday, 54 trucks have crossed into Gaza carrying food, medicine and water, which UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres described as “a drop of aid in an ocean of need.”

Senior UN aid official Lynn Hastings had earlier told the Security Council that 20 trucks were due to cross on Tuesday.

No fuel has been delivered. Israel is concerned about the possible diversion of fuel deliveries by Hamas. White House national security spokesman John Kirby on Tuesday described Israel’s concerns as legitimate.

“We still believe, just in general, that fuel needs to be able to get in to the people of Gaza,” he told reporters.

The United Nations has warned that its fuel reserves will run out within days. The UN agency providing aid to Palestinians in Gaza, UNRWA, warned on Tuesday that it would have to halt its operations on Wednesday night if there were no fuel deliveries.

“While we negotiate with the government of Israel as to how best to bring fuel into Gaza, we have 400,000 litres on trucks ready to go. This would provide fuel for approximately 2-1/2 more days,” Hastings told the Security Council.

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