US expresses 'total outrage' after Israeli settlers attack aid convoy

Washington has raised concern with 'highest level of the Israeli government'

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A top US official on Monday expressed “total outrage” after Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank attacked vehicles carrying aid headed for Gaza.

Settlers ransacked lorries carrying aid, which had been sent from Jordan at a crossing between the West Bank and Israel, according to Palestinian media and Israeli human rights organisations.

“It is a total outrage that there are people who are attacking and looting these convoys coming from Jordan going to Gaza,” US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said at a briefing.

“We are looking at the tools that we have to respond to this. And we're also raising our concerns at the highest level of the Israeli government.”

The US State Department said: “It is our strong view that aid cannot and must not be interfered with."

Settlers with the “Order 9" organisation, which has led other groups trying to stop aid to Gaza, halted lorries at the Tarquimya checkpoint, near Hebron, according to Palestinians news agency Wafa.

The group says it aims to prevent aid from reaching the militant group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip and was behind a deadly attack on Israel on October 7 last year.

In widely circulated videos, the settlers can be seen throwing aid boxes to the ground and ripping them apart.

Israeli police told AP that a number of people had been arrested, without providing further detail.

Israeli settlers have previously blocked aid lorries trying to make deliveries to Gaza.

The war has given rise to a humanitarian crisis in the enclave, with food, water and fuel supplies at extremely low levels or running out completely.

The UN and aid agencies have warned that as much as half of Gaza's population is at risk of famine.

Updated: May 13, 2024, 9:20 PM