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Rafah border open to aid Gaza: Foreign ministry

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Humanitarian aid pours in as ceasefire reaches second day

Rafah border open to aid Gaza. (AFP Photo)

Rafah border open to aid Gaza.
(AFP Photo)

The 72-hour ceasefire deal between Gaza and Israel, which started Tuesday morning, has provided a window for humanitarian aid through Egypt’s Rafah border crossing—the besieged Gaza Strip’s only border crossing not controlled by Israel.

The Rafah crossing remains open, said Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesman Badr Abdelatty, and Egypt has facilitated the delivery of humanitarian aid and the crossing of refugees.

Up to 1,200 tonnes of medical aid and foodstuffs have been delivered to Gaza by the Egyptian government, said Abdelatty, while 3,500 people have crossed into Egypt from Gaza, and 2,000 people have crossed from Egypt into Gaza.

Humanitarian aid from any country is welcome to cross into Gaza via Rafah, added Abdelatty.

Released on Tuesday, an official statement from the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) foreign press spokesperson said 1,856 trucks of humanitarian aid with 40,550 tonnes of aid have been delivered from Israel to Gaza, which included food, humanitarian and medical supplies.

Last Friday, the United Nation Refugee Works Agency (UNRWA) asked for the allocation of $369m to support relief efforts in Gaza. The aid includes $11m “for emergency education needs to improve the safety of the education environment, as well as provide teachers and students psychosocial support”, according to a UNRWA statement.

Gaza schools, often used by the UNRWA as temporary shelters for the displaced, have been targets of Israeli shelling after the IDF accused Hamas of using the building for cover to fire rockets and for protection.

“Egypt seeks to fulfil its historical obligations towards our brothers in occupied Palestine in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank through the balance between two basic considerations: maintaining the Egyptian national security, and trying to ease the blockade imposed on Gaza by facilitating the passage of Palestinian civilians through the Rafah crossing, as well as the coordination of humanitarian access,” said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a Wednesday statement.

Over four weeks of fighting between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip have resulted in mass casualties. The Palestinian embassy in Cairo said that as of Tuesday, 1,881 Palestinians have been killed, including 430 children and 243 women. Another 9,570 have been wounded.

Three Israeli citizens have been killed and 83 more wounded. 64 Israeli soldiers have been killed, and 463 were wounded, according to the IDF.

About the author

Aaron T. Rose

Aaron T. Rose is an American journalist in Cairo. Follow him on Twitter: @Aaron_T_Rose


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