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Israel-Hamas War: Talks For Aid To Gaza Taking Final Shape, Biden To Visit Israel Tomorrow, Top Hamas Leader Killed As Attacks Continue

The United Nations (UN) has warned that the supplies in Gaza Strip may not last more than a day as negotiations continue between Israel, Egypt, United States, and others for delivery of aid to Gaza. Trucks full of aid have lined up at the Egypt-Gaza border but have not yet crossed over as a deal is yet to be reached.

Smoke rises following an Israeli airstrike in the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel.
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A deal is taking shape to ease the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip that has developed out of the ongoing Israel-Hamas War. 

Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza have been displaced in the weeklong fighting and the region is short of water, food, fuel, and medical supplies to the extent that the United Nations (UN) has warned that current fuel stocks may not last more than a day. 

For days, diplomats from Israel, the United States, Egypt, and other countries have been working to come to an agreement for the delivery of aid to southern Gaza, where Israeli military had asked civilians from northern regions to go so they don't come between the warring sides. For days, trucks full of aid are lined up at the Rafah crossing at the Egypt-Gaza border but are yet to cross over as no deal has yet been reached. 

On the battlefront, attacks from Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon have continued. The Israeli military on Tuesday said it killed top Hamas commander Ayman Nofal, who was also involved in the 2006 abduction of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in 2006 who was held in captivity for five years.

Meanwhile, in a mark of continued support to Israel, US President Joe Biden will visit Israel on Wednesday. Biden is on a dual mission to support Israel against Hamas and mitigate the Palestinians' sufferings. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has already been criss-crossing the region for a week now to shore up support against Hamas, hold talks over the humanitarian situation in Gaza, and to prevent the Israel-Gaza conflict from becoming a wider regional conflict. 

The UN agencies have continued to issue dire warnings about the situation in Gaza. After the all-out Hamas offensive on Israel that killed at least 1,400 and injured over 4,000 in Israel on October 7, Israel launched airstrikes in Gaza against Hamas sites and leaders that have also caused widespread civilian casualties. At least 2,800 have been killed and over 10,000 have been injured in Gaza, including hundreds of children, according to Al Jazeera.

Israel has also imposed a "complete siege" on Gaza and has cut of electricity and water supplies to the region. Gaza relies on Israel for up to a third of its water supply.

Plan in place to deliver aid, talks continue to finalise deal

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday said that Israel and the United States have come together with a plan to deliver aid to Gaza Strip.

The plan is, however, yet to be put in motion as a deal with the wider group of countries involved in the talks is yet to be reached.

Blinken said on Twitter that the deal would involve a multinational aid delivery and would also work to create 'green zones' where civilians could take shelter from the ongoing fighting. 

Separately, The New York Times reported that the plan to create "safe zones" for Palestinian civilians is Gaza would hopefully be in place before Israel starts its widely-anticipated ground offensive. 

The NYT further reported that all the regional leaders that Blinken has talked to have urged Israel to let aid enter Gaza and he spent a total of nine hours on Monday in talks with the Israeli leadership, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, following he tweeted about the US-Israeli plan. 

"Mr. Blinken flew into Israel on Monday, and he spent most of a total of nine hours of talks involving Mr. Netanyahu focused on aid for Gaza. The talks ended at 2:30 a.m. on Tuesday. Once aid enters Gaza via the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, the crossing will open, and U.S. citizens and perhaps other foreigners would be able to leave Gaza, the official said. U.S. officials say they hope Israel will refrain from bombing the Rafah crossing area," reported NYT.

For days, talks over the delivery of aid to Gaza has continued even as trucks full of aid are lined up at the Rafah crossing at the Egypt-Gaza border but are yet to cross over as no deal has yet been reached. Israel on Sunday opened water supply to southern Gaza after an understanding with the United States was reached. 

UN says fuel in Gaza may not last more than a day

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) on Tuesday said that fuel stock in Gaza Strip may not last more than 24 hours. 

"The shutdown of backup generators would place the lives of thousands of patients at serious risk," said UNRWA, as per The New York Times.

Earlier, the World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday said that supplies need to enter Gaza Strip within a day's time in order to prevent a "catastrophe", according to AFP. WHO regional chief Ahmed al-Mandhari told AFP that if aid does not arrive in Gaza in a day's time, doctors will have to "prepare death certificates for their patients". He added that Gaza is heading towards "a real catastrophe".

While the humanitarian situation in Gaza was already dire since 2007 when Israel and Egypt imposed a blockade after Hamas, a designated terrorist organisation, took control after driving away rival Palestinian party Fatah, the situation worsened after Israel imposed "complete siege" after the October 7 Hamas attack and cut off power and water supply. Gaza depends on Israel for a third of its water supply requirements. 

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Biden to visit Israel and Jordan, press for aid to Gaza

In an expression of support to Israel and to shore up efforts to deliver aid to Gaza, US President Joe Biden will visit Israel on Wednesday.

Biden will also visit Jordan, which is one of the key regional players and a US partner. 

Biden and the United States government have supported Israel unequivocally in the war against Hamas. Biden has, however, also pressed the requirement to ease the humanitarian situation in Gaza for ordinary Palestinians who are suffering in the war between Israel and Hamas. 

Biden said, "On Wednesday, I'll travel to Israel to stand in solidarity in the face of Hamas's brutal terrorist attack. I'll then travel to Jordan to address dire humanitarian needs, meet with leaders, and make clear that Hamas does not stand for Palestinians' right to self-determination."

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This would be Biden's second visit to an active war zone within a year as he also visited Kyiv earlier this year. Earlier on Monday, Blinken during his talks in Israel was rushed to shelter as a barrage of rockets rained on Israel. 

CNN reported that Biden's visit to Israel comes after he extracted an assurance from Israeli Prime Mininster Benjamin Netanyahu that humanitarian aid to Gaza would be opened by Israel. It further noted that Biden's visit will seek to balance the support to Israel against an unprecedented attack by a designated terrorist group and also address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza where hundreds of thousands are displaced and lack basic amenities. 

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"The president’s visit will build on Blinken’s seven nation, multi-day tour of the Middle East, which comes as the US tries to strike a delicate balance of providing unwavering support for Israel’s military operations while mitigating the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza and stopping the war from spreading to further fronts...While Biden has stopped well short of encouraging a ceasefire – the word hasn’t been used at all in the administration’s response so far – he has issued steadily stronger warnings about protecting civilian life, including during his telephone calls with Netanyahu," reported CNN. 

The report further said that the Biden administration is pressing that humanitarian assistance to Palestinian civilians in Gaza must be finalised and in place before any ground offensive is launched in Gaza. 

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Hamas and Hezbollah continue to attack Israel

Even as talks continue over the delivery of aid to Gaza and a plan takes shape, there is no halt in attacks on Israel from Hamas and Hezbollah.

While Hamas continued its rocket attacks in southern and central Israel on Tuesday, Hezbollah continues to attack northern Israel with rockets and anti-tank munitions, making the possibility of a multi-front war quite real.

The Israeli military also said that four attackers were killed who tried crossing into Israel from the northern border with Lebanon. 

The Israeli military also said that it killed Hamas commander Ayman Nofal, who was also involved in the 2006 abduction of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in 2006 who was held in captivity for five years. Shalit was released in 2011 in lieu of hundreds of Palestinian convicts. 

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There have also been unconfirmed reports that Israeli has also killed Hazem Ismail Haniyeh, the son of Hamas top leader Ismail Haniyeh. Haniyeh led the de facto government of Hamas, a designated terrorist organisation, in Gaza during 2007–14. Since 2017, he has been Hamas’s political bureau chief.

The Israeli military on Tuesday said it struck around 200 Hamas and Israeli targets overnight.

So far, multiple Hamas ministers and top leaders, including a regional intelligence chief and leader of Hamas air force, have been killed in Israeli strikes and a top leader of Hamas naval force has been captured. 

Meanwhile, as the fighting continued, US Central Command chief Gen. Michael Kurilla arrived in Israel to "gain a clear understanding of Israel’s defense requirements, outline US support efforts to avoid expansion of the conflict, and reiterate the Department of Defense’s ironclad support for Israel", according to a statement.

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