Israel Gaza: Biden clinches deal with Egypt to allow aid

By Holly Honderich Visiting Tel Aviv, Mr Biden said Israel had a right to hit back for the Hamas attack that triggered the fighting. The US president said Israel had been “badly victimised”, though he cautioned against being “consumed” by rage. He also backed Israel’s account that a blast at a Gaza hospital on Tuesday was not caused by an Israeli air strike. Palestinian officials say the explosion at Gaza’s Al-Ahli Arab Hospital killed 471 people, blaming it on Israel. The incident has further inflamed tensions across the region. But during a trip to Tel Aviv lasting fewer than eight hours on Wednesday, Mr Biden supported the Israeli claim that the deadly blast appeared to have been caused by a misfiring Palestinian rocket. The American president said he was “deeply saddened and outraged” by the explosion. Israel says the blast was caused by Islamic Jihad, another militant group operating in Gaza. Islamic Jihad denies that claim. The Palestinian-reported death toll has also been disputed by Israel. A foreign ministry spokesman, Lior Haiat, said on social media platform X that “several dozen people” had been “apparently killed”. While flying home, Mr Biden discussed aid for Gaza with Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi by phone. Mr Biden told journalists that Mr Sisi had agreed to open the Rafah crossing from Egypt to Gaza to allow about 20 lorries carrying humanitarian aid into the territory. Egypt confirmed its president and Mr Biden had agreed to provide aid to Gaza “in a sustainable manner”. Mr Biden did not give a timeline for the border crossing opening, but White House spokesman John Kirby said it would occur in the coming days after road repairs. Mr Biden also said $100m (¬£82m) in US funding would be be allocated to support Palestinian civilians. A source familiar with the matter told Reuters news agency the US president was considering asking Congress for $10bn in aid for Israel as soon as Friday. People are desperately short of food, water, fuel, medicine and other essentials after Israel launched a blockade of the enclave 10 days ago. Israel struck back after the Palestinian militant group Hamas killed 1,400 people in an unprecedented incursion from Gaza on 7 October. At least 3,000 people have been killed in retaliatory Israeli strikes on Gaza, according to Palestinian health officials. More than a million Palestinians have fled their homes within Gaza – about half of the population. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed Israel would not prevent supplies going from Egypt to the civilian population in southern Gaza.