Gaza: first unloading of humanitarian aid pallets

Gaza: first unloading of humanitarian aid pallets
Gaza: first unloading of humanitarian aid pallets
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Keystone-SDA

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May 18, 2024 – 10:04

(Keystone-ATS) Fierce fighting pits Israel against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, where after several days of blockage, more than 300 pallets of humanitarian aid were unloaded for the first time on the temporary jetty deployed by the United States.

“More than 300 pallets of humanitarian aid” were unloaded, the first to enter via the temporary American floating jetty moored on the coast of the Gaza Strip, the Israeli army said in a statement.

For its part, Hamas insisted on Saturday, in a press release, “that no aid delivery route, including the floating jetty, constitutes an alternative to the routes under Palestinian supervision”.

500 tons of aid

After days of blocking the arrival of humanitarian aid in the besieged Palestinian territory threatened with famine, the American army announced on Friday the arrival of “around 500 tons (of aid) in the coming days”.

London announced for its part that a shipment of British aid had been “successfully delivered to the Gaza coast (….) at the same time as aid from the United States and the United Arab Emirates” via the corridor. Cypriot maritime agency, while France declared that a Navy vessel from Cyprus, with 60 tons of aid on board, was being unloaded on the American pontoon.

The Israeli army carried out new strikes in Rafah that left two people dead in the Berbera camp in central Rafah, according to the Hamas Health Ministry.

In the eighth month of war against the Palestinian Islamist movement, the army announced Friday that it had discovered in the Gaza Strip the bodies of three Israeli hostages kidnapped during the unprecedented attack carried out by Hamas on October 7 in Israel and had them repatriated.

Shani Louk, Amit Buskila and Itzhak Gelerenter were “taken hostage” and “brutally murdered” by Hamas while trying to flee the Nova music festival in southern Israel, said its spokesperson Daniel Hagari.

“Heavy” fights

At the same time, the army announced to AFP on Friday that it had led “perhaps the fiercest” fighting in Jabalia in this northern area of ​​the Gaza Strip since the start of its ground offensive on the Palestinian territory at the end of October.

Six people were killed in their bombed home in this area, according to the Palestinian Civil Defense.

The Israeli army claimed to have completed its operation in the Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza City (north), after a week of “precise raids”, killing “more than 90 terrorists”.

Furthermore, a local leader of the armed wing of Islamic Jihad in Jenin, in the north of the occupied West Bank, was killed in an Israeli strike, the Islamist movement announced on Saturday, confirming information from the Israeli army and the government Palestinian.

Call from 13 countries

In the Gaza Strip, Israel announced its intention to “intensify” its ground offensive in Rafah where the stated objective is to annihilate the last Hamas battalions, despite the fears of the international community over the fate of hundreds of thousands of displaced people massed in this city.

Thirteen countries – Japan, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Australia, South Korea and seven EU member states including France – sent a joint appeal to him not to launch a large-scale offensive on Rafah , described as “decisive” by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In their joint appeal, the 13 countries also call for “additional efforts” to improve international aid entry flows “through all the crossing points concerned, including that of Rafah”.

Israel’s primary supporter, the United States, which also opposes a major offensive in Rafah, announced the visit to Israel on Sunday of the White House national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, after a stopover on Saturday in Saudi Arabia.

Since the deployment on May 7 of the Israeli army on the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing point, Israelis and Egyptians have blamed each other for the paralysis of this crucial passage for the entry of aid, whose deliveries are also largely obstructed at the Israeli-side crossings of Kerem Shalom and Erez.

In this context, Washington announced on Friday that it had evacuated 17 American doctors who were stranded in the Palestinian territory.

“People are terrified”

Since Israel ordered civilians to leave the eastern sectors of Rafah on May 6 in anticipation of a major ground offensive, “640,000 people” have fled the city, “including 40,000 on May 16,” according to the UN Office of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Of the 2.4 million inhabitants of the Gaza Strip, some 1.4 million people, residents and people displaced by the fighting, were until then in Rafah, backed by the closed border with Egypt.

“People are terrified and are trying to flee” to the north and the coast, “it is very difficult, because there is no safe route out of Rafah and there is certainly no safe destination in Gaza,” described Jens Laerke, OCHA spokesperson.

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