Israel-Hamas War: More Aid Enters Gaza Strip As UN Flags Fuel Shortage, Israel Evacuates Northern Areas Amid Escalation Fears

The Israel-Hamas War entered its 16th day on Sunday. While the humanitarian situation in Gaza Strip remains grim, attacks from Gaza-based Hamas and Lebanon-based Hezbollah on Israel continue even as Israeli military continues to conduct airstrikes.

A truck carrying humanitarian aid for the Gaza Strip crosses the Rafah border gate in Rafah, Egypt, Sunday, Oct. 22, 2023.

The second shipment of aid entered Gaza Strip on Sunday amid calls for greater humanitarian assistance. There is no clarity over how many trucks entered and what they contain as conflicting reports have emerged. 

The humanitarian situation in Gaza remains grim as hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have been displaced by the ongoing fighting between Hamas and the Israeli military. The region is short of food, water, medicines, and fuel reserves amid a complete land blockade by Israel

The United Nations (UN), which has called for greater humanitarian assistance to Gaza, has again flagged the shortage of essentials in Gaza. In the latest update, it has said that the region's fuel reserve may last for just three more days. 

As attacks from Gaza-based Hamas and Lebanon-based Hezbollah continue on Israel, the Israeli military has continued to carry out airstrikes even as hundreds of troops amass on the ground for a long-anticipated ground offensive. The Israeli military has also set up a special unit to hunt leaders involved in the October 7 attack when Hamas, a designated terrorist organisation, mounted an all-out offensive on Israel. 

On October 7, Hamas invaded Israel on bikes and trucks via land, on gliders via air, and on boats via sea and went on a rampage across southern regions under an offensive it dubbed 'Operation Al Aqsa Storm'. It killed at least 1,400, injured more than 5,300, and took over 200 hostages, according to Israeli authorities. In response, Israel began airstrikes in Gaza against Hamas facilities and leaders under 'Operation Swords of Iron', which have also caused widespread Palestinian civilian casualties. As per the latest figures, at least 4,650 have been killed and over 14,200 have been injured in Gaza, several hundreds of them being women and children. 

2nd shipment of aid enters Gaza Strip

A second shipment of humanitarian aid entered Gaza Strip on Sunday amid grim humanitarian situation in the region. 

Egyptian media reported that 17 trucks of humanitarian aid entered Gaza on Sunday. Sunday's shipment follows 20 trucks of aid that entered Gaza on Saturday

There is, however, no clarity how many trucks entered Gaza and what they contain. While AFP news agency and The Jerusalem Post reported that 17 trucks entered Gaza, with AFP also reporting that an official at the border crossing said the relief convoy also included fuel trucks, UN said no fuel supplies have entered Gaza.

The Associated Press reported that while its journalists on the ground saw seven fuel trucks head into Gaza, UNRWA spokesperson Juliette Touma and the Israeli military told the agency that those were already inside Gaza and were taking the fuel deeper into the region. 

While the United Nations (UN) has welcomed the delivery of aid, top UN officials have called for much greater assistance to Gaza where hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have been displaced in the ongoing fighting and at least 4,650 have been killed over 14,200 have been injured. The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that it looks forward to seeing 200 trucks of air entering Gaza daily. 

Humanitarian aid is entering Gaza through the Rafah border crossing at the Egypt-Gaza border under an agreement reached after days of intense negotiations between the United States, Israel, Egypt, and other countries. For days, even before the agreement was reached, trucks full of aid had lined up at the Rafah crossing to enter Gaza. Humanitarian assistance and funding has poured in from all over the world, including the Untied States, the United Kingdom, and India.

Gaza could run out of fuel in 3 days: UN

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) has said that Gaza Strip is down to its last three days of fuel stocks. 

The update came as the UN has called for the inclusion of fuel in the humanitarian aid shipments being arranged for Gaza. So far, the fuel is not included in the shipment and only medicine and other essentials are included. 

UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini appealed to "all parties" to immediately allow fuel deliveries to Gaza, according to The New York Times. 

"Without fuel, there will be no water, no functioning hospitals and bakeries. No fuel will further strangle the children, women and people of Gaza," said Lazzarini, as per NYT.

Israel evacuates 14 more communities along Lebanon border

Israel on Sunday ordered the evacuation of 14 more communities in the northern region along the Lebanon border as attacks from Lebanon-based Hezbollah continued and Israel also continued to respond with its own strikes.

With the latest evacuation, at least 120,000 Israelis have been displaced as dozens of towns have been evacuated in the north and the major southern town of Sderot has also been evacuated of civilians because of constant rocket attacks from Gaza. The Israeli military says more than 7,000 rockets have been launched into Israel since October 7 which began with thousands of rockets raining all over Israel.

The risk of a full-fledged multi-front war also appeared to increase as attacks against Hezbollah continued and Israeli strikes in Lebanon against Hezbollah targets have also continued. There are fears in the West that the war could escalate into a wider regional conflict with the convergence of all Iranian proxies in the region. 


Amid such tensions, Israeli Prime Minister visited troops amassed for a possible ground operation and said that if Hezbollah joins the war, it would be "the mistake of its life". 

"If Hezbollah decides to enter the war, it will long for the Second Lebanon War. It will be making the mistake of its life. We will hit it with a force it cannot even imagine, and the meaning for it and the Lebanese state will be devastating," said Netanyahu, as per The Times of Israel. 

The Israeli military targeted Hezbollah at least four times on Sunday as the Iran-backed group continued its attacks on Israel through the day.


In separate but war-related news, Israeli military said it killed top Hamas leaders. It said it killed Muhammad Katmash, the deputy in charge of Hamas's artillery, in an airstrike in Gaza Strip. So far, the Israeli military has killed a number of top Hamas leaders, including a regional intelligence chief, multiple ministers, air force chief. 

Israel sets up unit to hunt Hamas attack planners

Israel has set up a special unit to hunt down Hamas leaders who planned the October 7 attack, according to The Jerusalem Post.

The unit will operate under Shin Bet, Israel's internal security and intelligence agency, and will operate independently of the regular chain of command of the military. 


The unit has been named Nili, which is an acronym in Hebrew for "the eternity of Israel will not lie", reported The Post.

"This force was specifically set up to target members of a special commando unit within Hamas's military wing called Nukhba ("elite")...This particular mission is distinct, with the organization encompassing both field operatives and intelligence personnel," reported The Post, adding that Nili mandate will be different from units that are currently operating which are focused on neutralising strike cells and high-ranking Hamas figures. 

Last week, the Israeli military said it killed Nukhba force commander Ali Qadhi, who is said to have played a key role in the October 7 attack. 


Hamas commanders ordered attackers to behead, mutilate Israelis: Report

The Hamas commanders in Gaza Strip had ordered their attackers to behead Israelis and chop off their feet during the October 7 attacks, according to a report based on the interrogation of a captured attacker.

At least 1,500-2,000 Hamas attackers invaded Israel on October 7 and went on killing sprees in southern Israel as thousands of rockets rained down across Israel. They killed hundreds at least 1,400 Israelis and foreign nationals, most of them civilians and several of them children. 

Now, Fox News has cited an interrogation recording of the attacker to report new details of Hamas atrocities on October 7. The graphic account details the massacre of civilians and the orders from Gaza-based handlers.


"In the video [of the captured Hamas attacker's interrogation], he describes the preparation and coordination of the assault on southern Israel. He talks about a Telegram group that Hamas fighters had and were communicating as the massacre took place, sending videos as they got there and as they killed civilians in their homes...He said the commanders told them to do whatever they felt like doing and that this was a suicide mission, telling them they should not planning on coming back," reported Fox's Trey Yingst, adding that his report has purposely left out some details that are too graphic and brutal to be publicly disclosed at the moment.


Yingst further reported, "He [Hamas attacker] says commanders told them to step on the heads of civilians, to behead them, and do whatever they felt like...He said 'we burnt, we beheaded, and we slaughtered people'...He said they became animals and did things that humans do not do. And when the interrogator asked him what type of things you did to those civilians after you killed them, he described them and we can't describe them to you because they are too graphic to explain on television."

Israel misfires at Egyptian post, launches probe

The Israeli military on Sunday evening misfired at an Egyptian post at the Egypt-Israel border. 


The military in a statement said that an Israeli tank accidentally fired at the post and the incident is under review. 

"A short while ago, an IDF tank accidentally fired and hit an Egyptian post adjacent to the border in the area of Kerem Shalom. The incident is being investigated and the details are under review. The IDF expresses sorrow regarding the incident," said the Israeli military. 

The New York Times reported that the Egyptian authorities confirmed the incident. The paper further reported that nine Egyptian soldiers were injured in the incident and a watchtower was damaged. 

"Egypt’s military confirmed in a statement that a border control tower had been 'accidentally hit' by shell fragments from an Israeli tank, resulting in some minor injuries. It added that Israel had apologized immediately for the incident," reported NYT further.


Gaza hospital blast caused by errant rocket from Gaza: Canada

A Canadian intelligence assessment has concluded that it was an "errant rocket" fired from inside Gaza Strip that caused the blast at Al Ahli Hospital in Gaza City that killed hundreds. The Canadian assessment is in line with the conclusions of Israel, France, and the United States.

Earlier on Tuesday night, a huge blast occurred at the Gazan hospital that killed hundreds. Immediately after the blast, the Hamas-run Gazan authorities said it was caused by an Israeli airstrike. Following this claim that was widely reported, the Arab world came to a boil and massive street protests broke out. Israel, however, rejected the claim and was backed by the United States which assessed that the blast was caused by a rocket fired from inside Gaza.


The Canadian assessment is in line with the conclusions of Israel, France, and the United States. While the US assessment said it was a rocket fired by a Palestinian group, Israel named Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) as the group whose malfunctioning rocket had caused the blast. The French also drew similar conclusions.

Initially, the Gazan authorities said there were around 500 dead from the blast but the toll was later revised to 471. The US assessment said there were around 100-300 dead.

In a statement, the Canadian government said its assessment says "with a high degree of confidence" that Israel was not responsible for the hospital blast.


"Based on analysis of open source and classified reporting, the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces assess that the strike was more likely caused by an errant rocket fired from Gaza," said the statement. 

The statement further said the statement relies on analysis of open source and classified intelligence and information shared by the allies corroborates the assessment.