Aid trucks enter Gaza from Egypt as Rafah crossing opens

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On the 15th day of the war between Israel and Hamas, 20 trucks carrying humanitarian aid were finally allowed to enter the Gaza Strip through the Egyptian Rafah border; However, the head of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, warned that “the needs are much greater” in the enclave that has more than 2 million inhabitants.

He also called for the “safe passage of additional aid convoys through the enclave.”

The Rafah border crossing opened for a brief period on Saturday morning to allow 20 aid trucks to enter Gaza from Egypt. While many have welcomed the brief reopening, human rights groups have said much more help is needed.

Among them was World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who, in a social media post, said that to “meet the urgent health needs of all people in Gaza,” the WHO calls for ” the safe passage of additional aid convoys. throughout the enclave; protection of all humanitarian workers; and sustained access to health care.

“In the darkest hours, war casts its shadow, but it is through the pursuit of peace that we ignite the light of hope, healing and a better tomorrow,” his post adds.

European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen called it an “important first step that will alleviate the suffering of innocent people.”

Martin Griffiths, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator, said the handover came after “days of deep and intense negotiations,” adding that the humanitarian situation in Gaza “has reached catastrophic levels.” .

Meanwhile, the United States has also welcomed the delivery of humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza, the first since the Hamas terrorist attack on Israel on October 7.

“We thank our partners in Egypt and Israel and the United Nations for facilitating the safe passage of these shipments through the Rafah border crossing,” the US State Department said in a statement on Saturday.

“With this convoy, the international community is beginning to address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza that has left Gaza residents without access to sufficient food, water, medical care and safe shelter,” he added.

Trucks carrying humanitarian aid for delivery to Gaza carried only food, water and medical supplies, but no fuel, CNN reported.

Thirteen trucks carried medicines and medical supplies; five were loaded with food; and two were carrying water, Egyptian authorities at the Rafah crossing said.

A Palestinian spokesman for the border crossing said Saturday that the aid loaded onto trucks did not contain “enough” supplies for even a single school in Gaza; However, CNN did not verify this claim.

“Despite supplies running dangerously low in hospitals and schools in Gaza, no fuel was delivered,” the head of communications for the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing, Wael Abu Mohsen, told Saudi state media Al Hadath TV in a interview on Saturday, as CNN reported.

Meanwhile, IDF spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said in a press conference that food, water and medical aid will enter the southern part of Gaza through the Egyptian Rafah crossing, while entry is still not allowed. of fuel to Gaza.

“The fuel will not enter Gaza,” Hagari said.

Hagari added that the IDF “will continue attacks on Hamas strongholds in northern Gaza.”

This dire situation in Gaza was highlighted by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in a statement on Thursday, stating that more than 60 percent of primary care centers are currently closed and Gaza hospitals are on the brink of collapse. collapse. This crisis is mainly due to a serious shortage of energy, medicines, medical equipment and specialized personnel, CNN reported.

Continued Israeli airstrikes have forced seven hospitals and 21 primary health care centers in Gaza to be “out of service.” Additionally, 64 medical staff have lost their lives in the ongoing conflict, CNN quoted a Palestinian Health Ministry spokesperson as saying on Friday.

The arrival of aid came as world leaders met at the Cairo Peace Summit in Egypt, launched by President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi.

The summit aims to de-escalate the situation in Gaza and ensure the protection of civilians in the region. Representatives from 34 countries participate, including those in the Middle East, Africa and Europe, as well as the United Nations. Notably, Israel did not attend the summit.

President Sisi emphasized that once aid has been delivered to Gaza, the main focus should be on negotiating a truce and ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

Negotiations should then resume for a peace process leading to a “two-state solution and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state living side by side with Israel on the basis of international legitimacy,” Sisi added.

Conditions in Gaza worsen by the hour amid fears of a catastrophic humanitarian crisis, with multiple human rights groups warning of the deadly consequences of the current shortages in the Gaza Strip and calling for vital supplies to be allowed to pass through the Rafah crossing.

At least 4,385 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli attacks on Gaza since the October 7 Hamas attack inside Israel, which killed more than 1,400 people.

(Only the title and image of this report may have been modified by Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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