ICJ Orders Israel: Ensure Gaza Aid, Warns of Famine

ICJ Orders Israel: Ensure Gaza Aid, Warns of Famine
ICJ Orders Israel: Ensure Gaza Aid, Warns of Famine

The world's top court has ordered Israel to ensure more food and urgent humanitarian assistance reaches Gazans, warning famine is already setting in after nearly six months of war.

The International Court of Justice's order comes after the United Nations has repeatedly said the besieged territory was on the brink of "man-made famine" and blamed Israel's restrictions on aid for causing "horrifying" levels of hunger and deprivation.

"Palestinians in Gaza are no longer facing only a risk of famine, but... famine is setting in," the Hague-based UN court said.

It told Israel to "take all necessary and effective measures to ensure, without delay" the supply "of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance".

After Hamas's October 7 attacks, Israel imposed a complete siege on Gaza, blocking food, water and medicine, before eventually allowing some deliveries to resume.

But humanitarian groups say the occasional aid trucks allowed in are still far from sufficient, while the UN human rights chief has said Israeli restrictions may amount to using starvation as a weapon of war.

Gazans' desperation became starkly clear this week, after people rushing for food drowned and were trampled to death when parachuted aid parcels fell into the sea.

With clean water also scarce, Gazans say they face long walks to try their luck at tanks that may not have anything left.

Heavy fighting and sustained bombardments have continued to rock the territory despite the UN Security Council's adoption of a resolution earlier this week calling for an "immediate ceasefire".

"Dozens" were killed overnight, including 12 in a home in southern city Rafah, the health ministry in the Hamas-run territory said.

The war has turned much of the territory into a wasteland and shattered the health system.