Egypt sends food to Gaza via Israeli crossing

Daily Star Egypt Staff
2 Min Read

GAZA: Egypt sent food shipments to Gaza on Wednesday to help alleviate a shortage of flour and other basic goods suffered by Palestinians due to Israel s frequent closure of the main commercial crossing into the strip. Palestinian security officials and witnesses said an Egyptian army truck laden with flour rolled into the Israeli side of the Kerem Shalom crossing, whose opening for emergency food shipments was agreed in U.S.-hosted talks on Sunday. The officials said at least 50 truckloads of flour, sugar and rice from Egypt would be allowed into Gaza on Wednesday after the cargo is transferred to Palestinian vehicles. Kerem Shalom, which can process 100 trucks a day, is located inside Israel at the corner of the border with Gaza and Egypt. It is a generous help from brotherly Egypt but it will not be enough to make up for the severe shortage caused by Israel s long closure of Karni (crossing), said Salim Abu Safiyah, Palestinian head of security at all crossings with Israel. Egypt has promised another 100 truckloads to help alleviate the shortage. Karni has a capacity of 500 trucks a day. The crossing has frequently been closed by Israel since early January despite an agreement brokered by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to boost the flow of goods into and out of Gaza after Israel s withdrawal last year. Israeli defense officials said the closures were in response to security threats, but many Palestinians called them punishment for electing the Islamic militant group Hamas in January s parliamentary poll. Palestinians have reported shortages of bread and other staples in Gaza because of the closure. Israel reopened Karni on Tuesday under foreign pressure, letting truckloads of flour, rice and cooking oil pass into Gaza after Palestinian officials and aid groups warned of a looming humanitarian crisis. Reuters

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