The Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza opened on Saturday to allow some aid into the besieged Palestinian region for the first time since Israel laid a siege on the territory on October 9, the Associated Press reported.

On October 7, Palestinian militant group Hamas launched a multi-pronged attack on Israel. In response, Israel besieged Gaza and launched a series of air strikes. It also stopped water, fuel and power supplies to the region’s 2.3 million residents, half of whom have fled their homes.

Faced with shortages, Palestinians have been rationing food and drinking dirty water. Hospitals in the narrow strip of land have said that they were running low on medical supplies and fuel for emergency generators. The Gaza Power Plant, the only source of electricity for the city, ran out of fuel over a week ago.

Citing Egypt’s state-owned Al-Qahera news, the Associated Press reported that only 20 trucks out of over 200 trucks carrying nearly 3,000 tons of aid that were waiting near the crossing for days, have been allowed to enter Gaza on Saturday.

Hundreds of foreign passport holders have also been waiting to escape the conflict in Gaza.

Hamas said that the limited supply “will not be able to change the humanitarian catastrophe” and called for a secure corridor operating around the clock.

On October 18, Israel said that it will allow humanitarian aid to enter Gaza, the day United States President Joe Biden visited the country in a bid to reassert Washington DC’s support for Tel Aviv while simultaneously trying to dial down tensions.

“In light of President Biden’s request, Israel will not prevent humanitarian assistance from Egypt as long as it is only food, water and medicine for the civilian population located in the southern Gaza Strip or which is evacuating to there, and as long as these supplies do not reach Hamas,” the Israeli prime minister’s office had said. “Any supplies that reach [Palestinian militant group] Hamas...will be prevented.”

Israel has said that it will not allow humanitarian assistance to Gaza from its territory till its citizens held captive there are not returned. “Israel demands Red Cross visits with our captives and is working to mobilise broad international support for this demand,” the prime minister’s office said.

Biden on Wednesday announced humanitarian assistance of $100 million, or roughly Rs 832.68 crore, for Gaza and the West Bank. He added that mechanisms have been put in place to ensure that the aid “reaches those in need – not Hamas or terrorist groups”.

Meanwhile, Israel’s chief military spokesperson Rear-Admiral Daniel Hagari said on Friday that the military was carrying out retaliatory air strikes in Gaza “at a rate that has not been seen for decades”. He said that they struck over 100 targets in air strikes, including one that killed Amjad Majed Muhammad Abu ‘Odeh, a member of Hamas’ naval forces.

Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant stated that the country did not have plans to maintain control over civilians in Gaza, the Associated Press reported.

On Friday, Biden also alleged that Hamas was motivated to attack Israel partly because it did not want Tel Aviv and Riyadh to normalise their relations.

“One of the reasons why they acted like they did, why Hamas moved on Israel, is because they knew I was about to sit down with the Saudis,” Biden said. “Because the Saudis wanted to recognise Israel and that would in fact unite the Middle East.”