Egypt blocks aid reaching Gaza as humanitarian crisis grows
The Egyptian army blocked a medical aid convoy from reaching the Gaza Strip on Thursday, where hospitals are struggling to cope under the strain of dealing with more than 5,250 people injured by Israel’s assault on the coastal enclave.
Military officers barred the convoy, which included Egyptian doctors and activists, from entering Gaza because they did not have a permit.
“An army officer told us that we have to have an official permit issued by the army’s military intelligence,” said Tamer Qenawi, a convoy member, according to the Indian Zee News.
Qenawi told Sada el-Balad television that convoy members will not return to Cairo without delivering the aid and will make attempts to renegotiate with army officers.
Several groups have been turned back by Egyptian authorities when trying to deliver aid to Gaza since Israel’s military offensive began on 7 July. Last week two separate convoys of several hundred activists were told they could not deliver aid because “the army cannot secure it”, citing security concerns about militancy in the restful north Sinai region.
Rashid Ghannouchi, head of the Tunisian Islamic party, slammed Egyptian authorities on Wednesday after they refused to allow a plane carrying aid from Tunisia to land at an airport near Gaza. He told al-Jazeera that there are “movements that want to make Gaza bleed” and said “there is a difference between those who act to stop the aggression and those who collude with the occupation.”
The Egyptian controlled Rafah border has remained closed throughout the Israeli military operation with just 11 injured Palestinians allowed to exit Gaza for hospital treatment.
While aid convoys struggle to deliver vital support to Gaza, the aid keeps arriving in Egypt. On Thursday two Moroccan planes landed in Cairo filled with humanitarian supplies and the UAE has provided similar support that is yet to reach the Palestinian territory.
Fuel is another much-needed commodity in Gaza, with power stations on the brink of running out of supplies. Qatar donated fuel almost a month ago, but it is yet to reach Gaza and is still waiting for approval in the Suez Canal.
UNRWA says more than 170,000 people have been displaced since 7 July and that Gaza faces a severe humanitarian crisis as food and medicine supplies are running out.