A fifth convoy of 12 aid lorries entered the Gaza Strip through the Rafah border crossing, which the enclave shares with Egypt, on Thursday as a fuel shortage continues to worsen conditions for civilians.
The convoy comprised 12 lorries turned away on Tuesday at the inspection site set up by Israel at the nearby Al Awga crossing, which lies on its border with Egypt, an NGO officer told The National on condition of anonymity.
Following reports on Tuesday morning that 20 lorries carrying aid for Gaza’s 2.3 million people had entered inspection stations at Al Awga, the Palestinian Red Crescent said it only received eight.
The officer said 12 of the lorries had not been cleared for entry into Gaza, though it was not immediately clear why they were turned away.
He said they had been reinspected and cleared for entry on Thursday, meaning delivery would be speedier than previous convoys because the inspected lorries would go straight from Rafah to Gaza.
On Thursday, just outside the Rafah crossing, a queue of lorries laden with aid awaited approval to enter through the crossing and on to the inspection station at Al Awga, a state-affiliated Egyptian television network reported.
A shipment of aid sent to Gaza by Kuwait arrived at Al Arish airport on Thursday, Egyptian state media reported, joining thousands of tonnes of aid that has continued to arrive in Al Arish, sent to Gaza by pro-Palestinian governments and humanitarian organisations.
Israeli inspections have so far not allowed the entry of any fuel into the Gaza Strip, which humanitarian organisations have warned is worsening an already dire healthcare situation.
Hospitals, ambulances and the dispersal of humanitarian aid inside the Gaza Strip are all heavily reliant on the availability of fuel, the UN has said.
Since allowing the opening of humanitarian corridors into the Gaza Strip on Saturday, about 77 lorries have been allowed through the inspection stations operated by the UN and the Israeli military.
Before the crisis, Gaza was receiving between 100 and 500 lorries of aid daily.
During the first week of the Israel-Gaza war, the Egyptian military had allowed volunteer workers, most natives of North Sinai province, to hold sit-ins by the Rafah border crossing, which were filmed by state media and widely broadcast.
However, one volunteer told The National that an air of increased tension has been all too palpable at the Rafah crossing since the Egyptian side of the border was hit by Israeli shelling on Sunday that caused “multiple minor injuries”, the Egyptian military said.
The Israeli army said on Sunday the hit had been an accident.
Since then, only volunteers assigned to lorries that have been cleared for entry into Gaza are allowed in the immediate vicinity of the crossing, one volunteer told The National.
Otherwise, most volunteers have either been relocated to campsites further away from the Rafah crossing or they have started to return home, the volunteer said. Lorries are packed by the volunteers at their campsites before moving on to the crossing, the volunteer said.