White House says aid isn’t getting into Gaza because of ‘criminal gangs’

White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan is set to meet with Israel Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Wednesday about why humaniatarian aid is still not getting to the Gaza Strip

Andrew Feinberg
Washington DC
Wednesday 26 June 2024 17:02 BST
Humanitarian relief organizations are sounding the alarm about continuing shortage of food in the Gaza Strip
Humanitarian relief organizations are sounding the alarm about continuing shortage of food in the Gaza Strip (Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

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Louise Thomas

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The White House says a bottleneck of aid trucks at a key crossing into the Gaza Strip is the fault of bands of looters who are ransacking the vehicles, not the Israeli government.

National Security Communications Adviser John Kirby on Wednesday told reporters that President Biden’s top national security aide, Jake Sullivan, was set to discuss the dearth of humanitarian goods in Gaza during a meeting with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

He said the humanitarian situation in Gaza would be “front and center” for Sullivan, who plans to use the talks to push Gallant on “what more we can do to get more trucks in ... to the people that most need that aid and assistance.”

Kirby noted that the Kerem Shalom crossing into Gaza is currently open with a queue of fully-laden, aid-bearing trucks waiting to pass through the checkpoint.

Yet “not a lot” of the vehicles that are lined up are able to enter Gaza, he said, because “criminal gangs now are looting these trucks.”

“The World Food Program and UN drivers are obviously concerned about getting attacked, and so we're going to have to continue to work with the the the Israelis to try to address that problem,” he said.

Since Israel began its war against Hamas following the October 7 terror attacks, over 80 per cent of Gaza residents have been displaced and most Gazans have become heavily reliant on humanitarian aid from international organizations.

Aid donated by the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates and other European countries continues to be shipped to Gaza from the Cypriot port of Larnaca via a US-built pier off the Gaza coast — but only 1,000 metric tons of the 7,000 delivered to the pier has reached the Palestinians thus far.

With additional reporting by agencies

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