ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 140

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IDF says Gaza photos show half million liters of fuel held by Hamas

Through Arabic spokesman, military publishes images of tanks of fuel it says are being withheld from hospitals, tells Gazans they are not a priority for the terror group

An image shared by the IDF showing twelve oil tanks in which Hamas  allegedly stores its reserves while the Gaza Strip is running out of fuel during the ongoing war with Israel, October 24, 2023. (IDF Arabic spokesman on X)
An image shared by the IDF showing twelve oil tanks in which Hamas allegedly stores its reserves while the Gaza Strip is running out of fuel during the ongoing war with Israel, October 24, 2023. (IDF Arabic spokesman on X)

The Israel Defense Forces on Tuesday issued photos it said showed fuel tanks in the Gaza Strip, asserting it had information that large amounts of fuel were being kept there by Hamas.

The photos were shared by the IDF’s Arabic-language account on X, formerly Twitter, depicting a location near the Rafah crossing, in the south of the Gaza Strip.

“This is what over half a million liters of diesel looks like,” wrote IDF Arabic spokesman Avichay Adraee, “while Hamas keeps claiming it does not have enough fuel to support hospitals and bakeries.”

The post was published a few hours after Hamas said that a power outage at the Indonesian Hospital in the northern Gaza Strip was a “crime against humanity” and called on Arab and Muslim countries and the UN to take steps to address the crisis.

The hospital was hit by a power outage on Monday night due to a fuel shortage. Al Jazeera reported that electricity was restored during the night, but the hospital only has fuel to operate generators for 48 more hours, after which lifesaving medical devices such as respirators and incubators will cease functioning.

Channel 12 news noted that if the IDF’s assertion is true, the fuel could keep all hospitals in Gaza operating for days.

Israel, which usually provides fuel to Gaza, halted all transfers following Hamas’s October 7 assault on the country, when the terror group abruptly launched a ground, air and sea assault on the Jewish state. Under the cover of a barrage of thousands of rockets, over 2,500 gunmen crossed the border and rampaged murderously through southern towns, killing more than 1,400, most of whom were civilians. Over 220 more were taken hostage.

Israel has barred the entry of fuel into Gaza after imposing a complete blockade on the coastal enclave in the early hours of the war. The first two aid convoys since the outbreak of the conflict were allowed into Gaza on Saturday and Sunday, carrying a total of 34 trucks of food and medical equipment.

A third convoy entered the Strip from Egypt on Monday, according to AFP, with an unspecified number of trucks. The United Nations says at least 100 trucks a day are needed to provide the basic needs of Gaza’s 2.4 million inhabitants.

The IDF’s post said: “Hamas-ISIS steals this fuel from civilians and transfers it to its tunnels, rocket launchers, and leaders. This is what Hamas’s list of priorities looks like.”

“Residents of Gaza, the address for your complaints is not Israel. It’s Yahya Sinwar, Muhammad Deif and other Hamas-ISIS members who pushed Gaza into this abyss.”

On Saturday, an IDF official denied that there was a humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip: “As of now, I can tell you that there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza. There are hardships in moving people within days to the south of the Gaza Strip, but the population is getting along,” the official told reporters.

Since the early days of the war, the military has continued to instruct Gazans to move toward the south of the coastal enclave, including by dropping leaflets from the air, as the army intends to intensify its attacks on the north. According to the Israel Defense Forces, some 700,000 people of the estimated 1.1 million population of northern Gaza have evacuated south.  But hundreds of thousands remain and Hamas has urged them to stay put.

An Israeli defense source said on Sunday that Israel will allow food, water, and medical supplies — but not fuel — to enter southern Gaza from Egypt, for Palestinian civilians, as long as the supplies do not reach Hamas.

This aerial view shows humanitarian aid trucks arriving at a storage facility in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip on October 21, 2023, after having crossed through the Rafah border from Egypt. (Belal Al Sabbagh/AFP)

On Monday, Hamas called on Arab and Muslim countries and the UN to intensify efforts to open “a permanent humanitarian corridor for the Gaza Strip,” and thereby stave off Israeli efforts “to starve Gazans.”

In a statement, Hamas said the aid that had entered the Strip since the start of the week does not cover the increasing needs of the civilian population, calling on the international community to increase the supply of fuel, food and medical supplies.

Israel has responded to the Hamas onslaught with intensive strikes on Hamas targets, while vowing to destroy the terror group and remove it from power in Gaza, where it has ruled since 2007.

More than 5,700 people have died during Israel’s attacks, according to unverified numbers given by the Hamas-run health ministry. They are believed to include its own fighters and the victims of hundreds of misfired Palestinian rockets Israel says have landed in Gaza since October 7, including one that hit a hospital parking lot and killed scores of civilians.

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