Jerusalem, Oct 25: As the Gaza Strip is in dire need of fuel, the Israeli military has reiterated that it will not allow fuel to enter the besiged enclave as it believes that the Hamas steals it for its operational infrastructure.
On being asked if the country would allow fuel into the enclave if it were in exchange for hostages, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari told reporters late Tuesday night that fuel from the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) had been "stolen by Hamas", CNN reported.
Earlier on Tuesday, the UNRWA said in a post on X that "if we do not get fuel urgently, we will be forced to halt our operations in the Gaza Strip as of tomorrow (Wednesday) night".
To this, the IDF posted a satellite photo of fuel tanks inside Gaza and said: "These fuel tanks are inside Gaza. They contain more than 500,000 liters of fuel. Ask Hamas if you can have some."
In his address to the reporters, Hagari went on to say the "Hamas needs fuel desperately, and after stealing from UNRWA, we will discuss the fuel with the world and if the hospitals are in trouble then they should address Hamas".
"They (Hamas) should fill the fuel for hospitals and citizens. And the world should demand Hamas to do so," CNN quoted the IDF spokesman as saying.
According to the UNRWA, the Gaza Strip will witness a catastrophic situation if it runs out of its dwindling fuel supplies.
"Fuel deliveries must be let in to ensure people have clean drinking water, hospitals can remain open and life-saving aid operations can continue," the UN agency said.
Other UN agencies have estimated that one-third of hospitals in Gaza and nearly two-thirds of primary healthcare clinics had shut due to damage or a lack of fuel, reports the BBC.
As fuel is also needed to run water systems runs out, some Gazans have been forced to drink dirty, salty water, sparking concerns of a health crisis and fears that people could start dying from dehydration, reports CNN.