US says Israel has resumed water supply to southern Gaza

Last week, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant ordered a 'complete siege' of the Gaza Strip


EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / Smoke rises over Gaza City on October 7, 2023 during Israeli air strikes. Palestinian militants have begun a "war" against Israel, the country's defence minister said on October 7 after a barrage of rockets were fired and fighters from the Palestinian enclave infiltrated Israel, a major escalation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (Photo by MAHMUD HAMS / AFP) (Photo by MAHMUD HAMS/AFP via Getty Images)

(JNS) Israel resumed the flow of water to the southern Gaza Strip, U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told CNN on Sunday.

"I have been in touch with my Israeli counterparts just within the last hour, who report to me that they have, in fact, turned the water pipe back on in southern Gaza," Sullivan told CNN's Jake Tapper on the "State of the Union" program.

"They [Palestinian civilians] deserve, as I said before, access to water and medicine and food, and we are working actively to ensure that happens," he added.

Last week, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant ordered a "complete siege" of the Gaza Strip as the Israel Defense Forces prepares for a major offensive in response to Hamas's deadly surprise attack on October 7.

The Hamas terrorist group killed at least 1,400 Israelis and wounded more than 3,500 in a massive offensive launched from Gaza on October 7, which included firing more than 6,600 rockets at the Jewish state.

"We are fighting human animals, and we are acting accordingly," Gallant said following an assessment at the IDF Southern Command in Beersheva.

"There will be no electricity, no food, no fuel; everything is closed," added the defense minister.

In a separate announcement, Israeli Energy and Infrastructure Minister Israel Katz said he instructed authorities to cut off water to the Strip. The siege will continue until every Israeli kidnapped by Hamas is freed, Katz vowed on Thursday.

Between 126 and 200 Israelis are being held captive by Hamas in the Gaza Strip, according to reports, with the IDF saying it has so far notified the families of 126 hostages.
"No electrical switch will be turned on, no water hydrant will be opened and no fuel truck will enter until the Israeli abductees are returned home," Katz, a Likud lawmaker and Security Cabinet, member wrote on X.

On Sunday, he said the decision to resume water supply to southern Gaza was made during a call between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Joe Biden.

The IDF has been calling on civilians in Gaza City and points north to evacuate "and move to the area south of Wadi Gaza" as it prepares to move into the coastal enclave with the goal of removing Hamas from power.

The IDF statement warned Gaza residents not to approach the border with Israel, and not to return to Gaza City unless told to do so by the Israeli military.

However, IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said last week that Hamas is preventing Gaza civilians from leaving so as "to use them as human shields."

"We have told [Egyptian] President [Abdel Fattah el-]Sisi to open the border to let Americans out," Sullivan told CNN on Sunday, adding that the "situation there at the [Rafah] crossing [to Sinai] is actually more complicated.

"The question when we tried to move a group yesterday was actually Hamas taking steps to try and stop that from happening," he explained, adding that Washington is "working around the clock" to get American citizens out of Gaza.

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