Israel will allow 20 aid trucks from Egypt to enter Gaza as doctors struggle after hospital blast

ITV News' John Irvine and Rohit Kachroo have the latest developments 24-hours after the deadly hospital blast in Gaza. There is still confusion over who was responsible, Israeli denies involvement, and blames Islamic Jihad.

  • 20 aid trucks will be allowed into Gaza from Israel, as soon as Friday

  • The Israeli Prime Minister's office released a statement permitting the opening of the Rafah border to let in food, water and medicine for Palestinian civilians, following a request from US President Joe Biden.

  • Families of the hostages taken by Hamas have criticised the Israeli government and said it is pampering 'the murderers and kidnappers with baklavas and medicines.'

  • Egypt’s foreign minister has confirmed there’s an agreement to allow aid to enter the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing.

  • Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is heading to Israel tonight, to conduct a two-day trip, following in the footsteps of Biden who arrived on Wednesday.

  • Gaza is in a period of mourning following a blast at a hospital, which killed hundreds on Tuesday - with blame being passed between Israel, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas who refuse to take responsibility for the missile.

  • Over 3,400 Palestinians and more than 1,400 Israelis have died, according to their respective officials, as the conflict enters its twelfth day.

Some 20 aid trucks will begin to enter Gaza, which has been devastated by air strikes and blockades on food, water and medical supplies, on Friday, the White House has said.

The supplies will come via the Rafah crossing, on Gaza's border with Egypt.

It comes as Palestinian hospitals have urgently requested to fuel to run patient generators, including doctors of the al-Ahli hospital, which was struck by an unclaimed missile on Tuesday.

Egypt confirmed on Wednesday night, it has an agreement with Israel other international actors to allow aid to enter Gaza through the crossing.

Israel said on Wednesday it would allow limited quantities of aid into the Gaza Strip, but families of hostages, held in the territory, have criticsed the government for pampering 'murderers'.

Israel "will not thwart humanitarian supplies from Egypt" as long as it goes to the "civilian population in the southern Gaza Strip," the prime minister's office said in a statement.

The Israeli government, however, has said it will not supply aid "as long as our hostages are not returned,".

The families of those snatched by Hamas, during the terrorist group's incursion into Israel last Saturday, have criticised the Israeli government’s decision to allow aid in.

“Children, infants, women, soldiers, men, and elderly, some with serious illnesses, wounded and shot, are held underground like animals and without human conditions, and the Israeli government pampers the murderers and kidnappers with baklavas and medicines,” a statement from the Hostage and Missing Families Forum read.

They said the move only increased their suffering.

Biden also warned any attempts by Hamas to steal the aid would illustrate the group as having "no concern for the welfare of the Palestinian people."

Meanwhile, Rishi Sunak is to travel to Israel to conduct a two-day trip where he will stress to international leaders the need to limit civilian casualties from the Israel-Gaza crisis and prevent the conflict from escalating in the region.

When will the aid come and what will be delivered?

Biden said Egypt’s president agreed to let in an initial group of 20 trucks with humanitarian aid.

If Hamas confiscates aid, “it will end,” he said. The aid will start moving Friday at the earliest, White House officials said.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said earlier today he hoped aid would enter the Palestinian enclave soon but did not provide a timeframe, in an interview with arabic news channel Al-Arabiya.

Asked whether foreign nationals would be allowed to leave Gaza, Shoukry was more cautious, replying: “As long as the (Rafah) crossing is operating normally and the (crossing) facility has been repaired.”

Egyptian authorities say the Rafah crossing has been damaged by four Israeli airstrikes. Credit: AP

Egyptian authorities say the Rafah crossing has been damaged by four Israeli airstrikes.

There has been no mention of fuel being delivered.

The IDF released a map of the failed missile launches in the Gaza Strip. Credit: IDF

What happened at al-Ahli hospital?

Hundreds of Palestinians had taken refuge in al-Ahli and other hospitals in Gaza City over the past few days, hoping to be spared bombardment after Israel ordered all residents to evacuate to southern Gaza.

On Tuesday, a missile strike appeared to target the hospital.

Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) official Daniel Hagari has accused Hamas of "hiding what really happened" after it left hundreds dead, claiming their intelligence spares them the blame.

Israel said the blast was caused by a misfired rocket by Palestinian Islamic Jihad, but the proscribed terror group - as well as Palestinian and Hamas officials - have denied this, calling the Israeli military's accusations "baseless".

ITV News Senior International Correspondent Johnny Irvine reports on the devastation at the al-Ahli hospital

Iranian-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad has said in a statement that any accusations against them are "false and unfounded" and added it does not use "places of worship or public facilities, especially hospitals, as military centers or weapons stores.”

In a statement Wednesday, Hamas said that in the days before Tuesday's blast at al-Ahli Hospital, Israeli authorities sent threats to several Gaza Strip hospitals and told each to evacuate otherwise “they will be responsible for what happens.”

Hamas said Israeli forces have targeted several emergency departments and ambulances since the violence began, adding that Israeli military officials contacted 21 hospitals including Al-Ahli, demanding that they evacuate “immediately because they are located in area of operations for the Israeli” army.

The UN has said it will want to do its own investigation into the fatal blast, with Martin Griffiths.

Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, said "it should be done very soon and very quickly."

Among the trading of blame, there is also dispute around the death toll. Gaza's health ministry said 471 people were killed, while 314 were injured.

Mr Hagari accused Hamas of launching "a global media campaign" about the bombing, as well as "inflating the number of casualties", but Israel has not stated its own estimated death count.

While holding up an infrared image of the hospital, Mr Hagari also claimed there was no direct hit to the hospital - only the car park.

Daniel Hagari held up what the IDF claim to be their evidence on the explosion. Credit: IDF

One doctor working in the building told ITV News: "The patients were unarmed. This is very serious considering the number of casualties and the kind of injuries.

"There were entire families, children, women, elders. A little percent of them could still be alive, but the death toll is rising.

"The efforts to collect more body parts continues. There might be some survivors, but the death toll will be much higher."

The IDF released an audio recording that they claim depicts two Hamas militants discussing the strike.

In Gaza, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday also declared that three days of mourning will be observed for the victims of the blast.

What have Palestinian and US officials said about the hospital strike?

Mustafa Barghouti, leader of the Palestinian National Initiative (PNI), has said the Israeli military is spreading "misleading disinformation" in regards to the blast.

The IDF has “a consistent track record of lying on many occasions regarding its crimes,” he added, saying it has “changed its official narrative several times in order to avoid culpability.” 

Barghouti said that the Israelis had “already threatened the hospital with evacuation” but the staff refused to leave because “it was impossible to transfer critical patients without them dying.”

“The (World Health Organization) has said that moving them would be a death sentence,” Barghouti said. 

The aid agreement has come about after talks between the US and Israel on Wednesday. Credit: AP

Meanwhile, Biden has told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a meeting: "Based on what I’ve seen, it appears as though it was done by the other team, not you."

But he said there were “a lot of people out there” who weren't sure what caused the blast.

In his Tel Aviv address, Biden also lamented the loss of life during the October 7 attacks in Israel by Hamas, but has also cautioned Israelis that while they may feel rage, they should not be consumed by it.

"I caution this. While you feel that rage, don't be consumed by it. After 9/11, we were enraged in the United States. While we sought justice and got justice, we also made mistakes," he said.

While outwardly condemning Hamas and accrediting the hospital blast to the group, Biden stated that the mission on both sides should be to "pursue peace."

Speaking of the explosion, he added: "We mourn the loss of innocent Palestinian lives like the entire world."

"The United States unequivocally stands for the protection of civilian life during conflict And I grieve, I truly grieve for the families who were killed or wounded by this tragedy."

What is the current situation in the Israel-Gaza conflict?

The conflict has now entered its twelfth day as fears of a looming ground invasion intensify in Gaza.

The country's Health Ministry said 3,478 Palestinians have been killed and 12,000 wounded, revised from an earlier figure of 13,000. Another 1,200 people across Gaza are believed to be buried under the rubble, alive or dead.

ITV News Political Editor Robert Peston outlines Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's trip to Israel tonight and his stance on the al-Ahli hospital explosion

More than 1,400 Israelis have been killed, and at least 199 others, including children, were captured by Hamas and taken into Gaza, according to Israel.

The UN Security Council has scheduled a vote on Wednesday on a resolution that initially condemned “the heinous terrorist attacks by Hamas” on Israel as well as all violence against civilians.

The conditions in the region have been described as "dire" amid the fast-deteriorating humanitarian situation.

Dr Tom Potokar, chief surgeon at the International Committee of the Red Cross, said the crisis that's unfolding "is on a much bigger scale than we've seen before."

What have world leaders said?

The 22 Arab countries at the UN have joined in demanding an immediate cease-fire in Gaza following the devastating explosion at the Gaza City hospital.

The UN's Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was “horrified” at the deaths and “hospitals and medical personnel are protected under international humanitarian law.”

Expressions of condemnation and grief were pouring in from other world leaders after the explosion.

Countries such as Syria and Saudi Arabia blamed Israel for the blast, with Libya’s Foreign Ministry accusing Israel of “war crimes and genocide” in the Gaza Strip.

Iraq declared three days of mourning, and there were protests there, in Lebanon, Jordan, Libya, Yemen, Tunisia, Turkey, Morocco, Iran and the West Bank. More are planned for Wednesday.

Lebanon's Iran-backed Hezbollah - a Shia Muslim militia organisation which sits on Israel's border - has called for a "day of rage" on Wednesday.

Egyptian President Sissi condemned what he called Israel’s “deliberate bombing” of al-Ahli hospital and “a clear violation of international law... and humanity.”

Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron said in a post on X that "nothing can justify striking a hospital".

Criticisms have been made, including by the US, over the ministry's transparency. Credit: AP

UK says it will work to 'find out what has happened'

The UK’s intelligence services have been "rapidly analysing" the evidence to find out what happened at Gaza’s al-Ahli hospital but Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called for a “calm and cool” response to the blast.

At PMQ's he said: “Our intelligence services have been rapidly analysing the evidence to independently establish the facts. We are not in a position at this point to say more than that.”

Mr Sunak will arrive in Israel on Thursday, where he will hold talks with the country's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and President, Isaac Herzog.

He will then travel to a number of regional capitals and meet with counterparts from across the Middle East. The government has not confirmed his full travel plans due to security reasons.

It comes over growing concerns over the spread of the conflict, with the government now advising against all travel to Lebanon - joining the list alongside Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.

Photos taken a week apart, from October 8-15, show the damage to the Gaza Strip's harbour and Islamic University

Downing Street has said seven British nationals have now died in the conflict with a further nine missing and feared dead.

It comes after a British teenager was confirmed as one of the many murdered during Hamas’s attack on Israel.

Yahel Sharabi, 13, was killed along with her mother, Lianne, while her elder sister, Noiya, 16, and her father, Eli, are still missing.

At least six Britons were killed in the Hamas terror attacks on October 7, with a further 10 missing – some feared dead.

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