Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

All the latest developments from the Israel Hamas war.

Civilians desperately ambush aid trucks

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Trucks carrying aid through the Rafah crossing on Sunday were boarded by Gaza civilians, amid a dire humanitarian crisis. 

They took aid from international organisations and threw boxes to crowds onto the streets. People also chased vehicles and boxes of aid fell from the trucks onto the road.

Some trucks labeled “UAE Aid” were defended by men armed with sticks, who stood on top of vehicles as they passed. 

The incident highlights the increasingly desperate situation facing civilians in Gaza after more than two months of Israeli bombardment.

The United Nations warned last week that people in Gaza are so “desperate for food” they are stopping aid trucks and immediately eating what they find.

Gaza remained under a communications blackout for a fourth straight day on Monday  — the longest of several outages over the course of the war. 

Aid groups say the blackouts complicate rescue efforts and make it even more difficult to monitor the war’s toll on civilians.

Some three-quarters of the territory’s 2.3 million people have been displaced, in some cases multiple times, since Israel launched its war in response to Hamas’ 7 October attack.

Europe calls for ceasefire

A group of European lawmakers called on Sunday for a ceasefire in Gaza following their trip to the Rafah crossing to see how European aid is helping Palestinians.

The lawmakers are from France, Sweden and Ireland, and affiliated with the centrist “Renew Europe” parliamentary group.

Christophe Grudler, a French lawmaker and head of the delegation, said there is progress towards the idea of a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. 

“We’re making progress and there’s an almost general desire to achieve this ceasefire for the benefit of the civilian population of Gaza on the one hand, but also to find a solution for the hostages who are in the hands of Hamas,” Grudler said in Cairo.

US defence secretary to visit Israel

The US defence secretary is set to travel to Israel to continue discussions on a timetable for ending the Israel Hamas war.  

Israeli and US officials have spoken of a transition to more targeted strikes aimed at killing Hamas leaders and rescuing hostages, without saying when it would occur.

Hamas has said no more hostages will be released until the war ends, and that in exchange it will demand the release of large numbers of Palestinian prisoners, including high-profile militants.

Hamas released more than 100 of more than 240 hostages captured on 7 October. They were swapped for scores of Palestinian prisoners during a brief ceasefire in November. 

Nearly all freed on both sides were women and minors. Israel has rescued one hostage.

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