UN warns of starvation in Gaza as its forced to stop food deliveries

The food supply has broken down under Israel’s sealing of all of Gaza's borders except the Rafah crossing with Egypt.

Aid agencies say a lack of fuel has forced them to call off deliveries of basic necessities in the Gaza Strip. They've also warned of possible widespread starvation in the besieged enclave because of the lack of fuel and said most people in Gaza were without adequate food and clean water.

Israel announced on Friday that it will allow for the first time “very minimal” daily shipments of fuel into Gaza for use by the UN and communications system.

A US State Department official said Friday that Israel has agreed to allow 140,000 litres of fuel into Gaza every 48 hours through the Rafah border crossing with Egypt.

On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had called Israeli Cabinet Minister Ron Dermer and told him that a “major catastrophe” was imminent If Israel didn't send fuel to southern Gaza.

The fuel will be delivered to the fuel depot on the Gaza side of the border and distributed from there. The State Department said 120,000 litres will be reserved for the truck of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees. They will carry humanitarian aid, as well as water desalinization, well and sewage pumping, solid waste disposal, bakeries and hospitals. The other 20,000 litres will be for generators used by Palestinian telecoms provider Paltel in order to restore communications networks.

On Thursday internet and telephone services collapsed across the Gaza Strip for the lack of fuel, the main Palestinian provider said, bringing a potentially long-term blackout of communications.

Meanwhile, Israeli troops for a second day searched Shifa Hospital in the north for traces of Hamas. They displayed what they said were a tunnel entrance and weapons found in a truck inside the compound. But the military has yet to release evidence of a central Hamas command centre that Israel has said is concealed beneath the complex. Hamas and staff at the hospital, Gaza’s largest, deny the allegations.

The military said it found the body of one of the hostages abducted by Hamas, 65-year-old Yehudit Weiss, in a building adjacent to Shifa, where it said it also found assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades. It did not give the cause of her death.

Israel earlier said it found the body of another hostage, a 19-year-old Israeli soldier, in a building adjacent to Gaza City's Shifa Hospital.

Noa Marciano's funeral was held on Friday in Modin in Israel.

At least 11,470 Palestinians — two-thirds of them women and minors — have been killed since the war began, according to Palestinian health authorities, who do not differentiate between civilian and militant deaths. About 2,700 people are reported missing.

Israel vowed to wipe out Hamas after the militant group launched its October 7 incursion. Some 1,200 people have been killed in Israel, mostly during the initial attack, and around 240 were taken captive by militants.