Some U.N. officials and diplomats have blamed Israeli security checks for delays in delivering aid, but Col. Elad Goren, a senior Israeli military officer, said in an interview that Israeli officials were ready to facilitate inspections of many more truckloads at Nitzana, a border post about 25 miles from Rafah.
“Israel will not be the bottleneck,” Colonel Goren said, adding that the issue was “the capacity of international organizations to absorb the aid via Rafah.” The colonel serves in COGAT, the Israeli agency overseeing policy for the Palestinian territories.
Hamas has been unapologetic about the gruesome Oct. 7 attacks that triggered the war, championing the violence and vowing to repeat it with the goal of annihilating Israel. And the Israeli military said on Thursday that its troops had encircled Gaza City and were engaged in “face to face” battles with Hamas, whose members are entrenched in a network of tunnels.
Ghazi Hamad, a member of Hamas’s political bureau, told a Lebanese television channel last week that the attack of Oct. 7 “was just the first time, and there will be a second, a third, a fourth.”
Clips of the interview were published and translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute, or MEMRI, a nonprofit monitoring group founded by an Israeli and an Israeli-American that is based in Washington.
“We must teach Israel a lesson, and we will do this again and again,” Mr. Hamad said.
During his visit in Tel Aviv, Mr. Blinken referred to the carnage of the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas, saying, “It is striking and, in some ways, shocking that the brutality of the slaughter has receded so quickly in the memories of so many.”
After his stop in Israel Friday, Mr. Blinken left for talks in Amman, Jordan, with Jordanian leaders and other regional partners about securing the release of people abducted by Hamas, and about preventing the war from spreading.
Adam Entous reported from Tel Aviv, and Thomas Fuller from San Francisco. Reporting was contributed by Aaron Boxerman from Jerusalem; Michael D. Shear from Washington; Cassandra Vinograd and Karen Zraick from London; Iyad Abuheweila from Cairo; and Nick Cumming-Bruce from Geneva.