Reopened bakery in Gaza offers hope as hundreds line up for bread

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Hundreds of Palestinians queued for bread at a reopened bakery in Gaza City, after fresh supplies arrived in a heavily blockaded area that has suffered months of deprivation.

They waited for hours in the streets of Gaza’s biggest city this week as the bakery turned out bags of subsidised bread after the World Food Program was able to resupply it.

For the latest updates on the Israel-Palestine conflict, visit our dedicated page.

Children stood patiently in line alongside young men and elderly people.

A Palestinian man reacts after buying subsidised bread outside a bakery in Gaza City on April 14, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the militant group Hamas. (AFP)
A Palestinian man reacts after buying subsidised bread outside a bakery in Gaza City on April 14, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the militant group Hamas. (AFP)

“When Israel prevented us from getting flour, we started eating corn and barley, until it reached the point where we had to eat some animal feed,” Wissam Dawad told AFP as he stood in the queue.

Firas Sukkar, also queueing, said, “I’m happy but I swear by God we are tired.”

“We have lost our sons, daughters, and wives. We have lost our entire lives,” he said.

“What more can I ask for?” he added. “My only message is to stop the war.”

Displaced Palestinians line up to buy subsidised bread from a bakery in Gaza City on April 14, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the militant group Hamas. (AFP)
Displaced Palestinians line up to buy subsidised bread from a bakery in Gaza City on April 14, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the militant group Hamas. (AFP)

Israel has faced growing global opposition to the relentless war it is fighting against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, which has reduced vast areas of territory to a wasteland of gutted buildings, bomb craters and rubble.

The war and the siege have triggered a dire humanitarian crisis, with desperate shortages of food, water, medicines and fuel, helped only by sporadic aid deliveries.

A Palestinian worker arranges freshly baked flatbread at a bakery in Gaza City on April 14, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the militant group Hamas. (AFP)
A Palestinian worker arranges freshly baked flatbread at a bakery in Gaza City on April 14, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the militant group Hamas. (AFP)

The United Nations has warned that the Gaza war and siege have caused “the highest levels of catastrophic hunger in the world”.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to push ahead with the war despite the opposition.

Palestinians line up to buy subsidised bread at a bakery in Gaza City on April 14, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the militant group Hamas. (AFP)
Palestinians line up to buy subsidised bread at a bakery in Gaza City on April 14, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the militant group Hamas. (AFP)

‘Not sufficient’

“Bakeries have been unable to operate for several months due to conflict and lack of access,” the World Food Program said on Sunday, announcing it had “delivered fuel to a bakery in Gaza to start producing bread.”

“We need safe and sustained access to prevent famine,” it warned in a post on social media network X, formerly known as Twitter.

Palestinians line up to buy subsidised bread from a bakery in Gaza City on April 14, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the militant group Hamas. (AFP)
Palestinians line up to buy subsidised bread from a bakery in Gaza City on April 14, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the militant group Hamas. (AFP)

Gaza resident Khaled al-Ghoula told AFP he “waited for six hours to get a loaf of bread”.

“It’s an extremely difficult struggle,” he said. “It’s unfair.”

“The available quantities are obviously not sufficient,” said Moataz Ajour, surrounded by workers packing the bread in a back room of the bakery.

“We hope that people and the World Food Program will also support us, so that the quantities are enough, and we can continue our work.”

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The October 7 Hamas attack that triggered the war resulted in the deaths of 1,170 people in Israel, mostly civilians, according to Israeli figures.

Israel’s retaliatory offensive has killed at least 33,843 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the health ministry.

Read more:

How humanitarian aid reaches war-stricken Gaza amid obstacles, alternatives

Israeli tanks re-enter northern Gaza as warplanes strike Rafah, residents say

Israel still imposing ‘unlawful’ restrictions on Gaza aid, UN rights office says

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