A State Department spokesman admitted that Hamas could steal humanitarian aid sent to the Gaza Strip Thursday, but still demanded Israel allow the aid to go in.
Hamas carried out a deadly terrorist attack on multiple locations in southern Israel Oct. 7, killing over 1,400 people and taking more than 200 hostages. President Joe Biden announced $100 million in humanitarian aid for Gaza Wednesday.
“We want to see sustained humanitarian assistance going into Gaza for the benefit of innocent civilians,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said during a Thursday press briefing. “The exact discussions about how we implement that are exactly what Ambassador Satterfield is engaged in right now, so I wouldn’t want to get ahead of those discussions. But it is our — our intention, our goal and what we’re working to secure is ongoing assistance to innocent civilians.”
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency posted on X that Hamas stole fuel and other relief supplies before deleting the posts.
“I think the — the — the concern the Israeli government has — and they’ve said this publicly, and they certainly said it privately, is that any assistance that goes in will be diverted once it’s inside Gaza, that there is not a — there’s not an Israeli military force in Gaza, there’s not U.N. peacekeeping force in Gaza,” Miller said. “The people with guns inside Gaza are Hamas. And so Hamas may try to divert this assistance and keep it from getting to the civilians who — who it is intended for.”
“We think that’s a legitimate concern,” Miller continued. “We’ve made clear that this aid needs to go to innocent civilians and not Hamas. We’re going to be watching very carefully how it’s delivered, because we want to be sensitive to those concerns which we share.”
The demand for humanitarian aid to be allowed in occurred after Hamas’s claims that the IDF bombed a hospital were debunked, with U.S. intelligence assessing that a rocket fired by Islamic Jihad caused the damage when it hit a parking lot.
The Israeli government warned residents of Gaza to evacuate Friday, citing the potential for ground operations by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF).
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