Aid Reaches Gaza as US Issues a Warning

Austin, Blinken say military is ready if Americans are attacked
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 22, 2023 5:15 PM CDT
Aid Reaches Gaza as US Issues a Warning
A truck carrying humanitarian aid for the Gaza Strip crosses the Rafah border gate in Rafah, Egypt, on Sunday.   (AP Photo/Mohammed Asad)

On a day of stepped-up clashes, US officials said they expect the Israel-Hamas war to widen—warning that if that happens, they'll answer any attacks on Americans. Gaza received humanitarian aid on Sunday, and a UN official said more will arrive Monday. Developments include:

  • US warning: Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said they anticipate proxies of Iran will become increasingly involved, escalating the war, the AP reports. "This is not what we want," Blinken said, adding, "But if that happens, we're ready for it." Austin said the US has the right to defend itself and that "we won't hesitate to take the appropriate action" US armed forces or other Americans come under fire.
  • Aid to Gaza: A second convoy of 17 trucks entered Gaza, Egyptian media reported, after the first shipments arrived Saturday. Cindy McCain, director of the UN World Food Program, said 40 more are due Monday, per NBC News. An Israeli agency said that "only water, food and medical equipment" were sent, per the New York Times, in a delivery requested by the Biden administration. "All of the equipment was inspected by Israeli security personnel before it was brought into Gaza," the agency said. Fuel was not included, which the Washington Post reports apparently was a concession to Israel's concern that it could be used for military purposes. A UN official urged that fuel shipments be allowed and said that its relief agency will run out in three days.
  • Biden-pope talk: In addition to having another phone conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday, President Biden conferred with Pope Francis, per CNN. The president and Francis "discussed the need to prevent escalation in the region and to work toward a durable peace in the Middle East," the White House said.
  • Israeli evacuations: Another 14 villages close to the border with Lebanon are being evacuated, Israel said, as its forces exchange fire with Hezbollah forces. More than 150,000 residents near the Gaza border in the south and Lebanon in the north have been moved from their homes for their safety in the past two weeks, per the Times.
  • Embassy alert: The US embassy in Lebanon sent an alert to Americans in the country saying that those "who wish to depart Lebanon should leave now, due to the unpredictable security situation." The message, sent Sunday, per the Post, added that "there are still commercial flights available, but there is reduced capacity."
(More Israel-Hamas war stories.)

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