Jerusalem – The humanitarian situation for Gaza’s 2.1 million civilians continues to deteriorate, with the United Nations and other international aid agencies warning that fuel for hospitals and critical facilities is expected to completely run out within days. Despite this, Israel continues to steadfastly refuse permission. Power generation materials entering the Palestinian enclave.
The fuel withholding will literally “suck out” terrorists quarantined in Israel as Israel ramps up airstrikes to wipe out terrorist group Hamas following a surprise attack on southern Israel on October 7. This is part of a broader strategy. An underground tunnel system snakes beneath the streets of the Gaza Strip.
Ehud Yaari, a Rafa international fellow at the Israel-based Washington Institute, told Fox News Digital that Hamas has been stealing fuel designated for civilian use for years to expand its stockpiles.
“Underneath Gaza City are approximately 190 miles of deep tunnels that rely entirely on fuel for ventilation, communications and power,” he said.
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Yaari also said that the approximately 220 hostages held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip since the October 7 attack were likely hidden somewhere in the vast tunnel system.
“One way to wash them away is to [Hamas] “The reason we remove them from the surface or force them to come above ground is to prevent them from getting fuel,” he said, adding, “Being in those underground tunnels for three weeks… It’s not a vacation. It’s hot and humid, and the more Israel destroys Hamas infrastructure from the air, the fewer Israeli casualties will be on the ground.”
“This is an important strategy, which is why Israel has been insisting that fuel should not be included in aid trucks going from Egypt to Gaza,” Yaari added.
On Wednesday, COGAT, the Israeli military agency that oversees all supplies shipped from Israel to Gaza, shared photos with X of what it said were Hamas fuel tanks.
“Hamas has fuel tanks containing hundreds of thousands of liters of fuel,” the post said.
The message followed an earlier message by Lieutenant Colonel Avichai Adlai, the Israeli Defense Forces’ Arabic-language spokesperson, who said Hamas was stockpiling fuel but was concerned about giving it to the population for use in hospitals and bakeries. He pointed out that the fuel was used instead of fuel. Instead, they operate tunnels and rocket launchers to make life more comfortable for the leaders. ”
“Hamas’ priorities are reflected in this,” Adlai wrote while sharing an aerial photo of what appeared to be a giant circular container.
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Israeli government officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s press secretary Mark Regev, have said in media interviews and briefings that their main concern in allowing fuel to flow into Gaza is that Hamas, which ultimately controls the Palestinian enclave, announced that it would immediately confiscate the fuel for military purposes.
Since it began its military operation, Israel was initially reluctant to even allow aid trucks into Gaza, but after pressure from the White House it finally decided a week ago to allow food supplies for civilians to enter Gaza. , agreed to allow water and medicine deliveries only to the southern Gaza Strip. strip.
Israel has warned residents north of Gaza City to move further south as it carries out airstrikes aimed at destroying Hamas’ terrorist infrastructure and killing key militant leaders. .
On Wednesday, Israeli Defense Forces spokesman Maj. Gen. Daniel Hagari said the military had destroyed Hamas’ emergency operations mechanism, which was responsible for setting up a blockade to prevent civilians from evacuating to safer areas. Hagari said the military will continue to encourage Gazans to move away from Israeli airstrikes and move south, where aid sent by Egypt and the United States will be distributed.
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Michael Milshtein, director of the Palestine Research Forum at Tel Aviv University’s Dayan Center, told Fox News Digital, however, that he believes Gaza has enough fuel to power hospitals and other vital civilian institutions. Ta.
“Gaza has fuel reserves, but Hamas just doesn’t want to give it to the people,” he said. “If they give it to the people, they won’t be able to use it for tunnels, for vehicles that are used to transport rockets or power drones that they send to attack Israel.”
Miltstein added: “Hamas needs fuel to stay underground, and without that fuel they can’t stay underground for long.”
But aid agencies, including UNRWA, say what is in Gaza is not enough to support the estimated 1.4 million people who have been internally displaced since the start of the war, and if fuel is not delivered in the coming days. , warns that they will no longer be able to evacuate. Able to carry out own work.
“Without fuel, aid cannot be delivered, hospitals have no electricity and drinking water cannot be pumped, let alone purified,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres told the UN Security Council on Tuesday.
Doctors in Gaza have also warned of a surge in infections, with many displaced people gathered in already overcrowded shelters, and a lack of clean water has led to cases of diarrhea, food poisoning, scabies, bronchial infections and chickenpox. is increasing.
The Hamas-controlled Health Ministry claimed in a report that the death toll in Gaza was more than 6,000, with 1,600 people missing, including 900 children.
At a press conference on Wednesday, President Biden questioned reports by the Hamas-controlled Gaza Health Ministry on casualty numbers, telling reporters: “I have no confidence in the numbers that the Palestinians are using.”