Home News Israel closes two Gaza crossings, triggering humanitarian aid alert

Israel closes two Gaza crossings, triggering humanitarian aid alert


Israel seized the Gaza side of the Rafah crossing with Egypt on Tuesday, now closing two key crossings for aid to Gaza, a move that drew stern warnings from international agencies and officials who said the move could would exacerbate the country’s already dire humanitarian crisis. enclave.

Since the war began, Israeli aid entering the Gaza Strip has been limited to Two strictly controlled border crossings: Kerem Shalom and Rafah, both leading to the southern part of the enclave.

But Israel closed the Kerem Shalom crossing after a Hamas attack on Sunday that killed four soldiers in the area, and then launched an incursion on Tuesday to close the Rafah crossing on the border with Egypt.

Jens Larke, spokesman for the U.N. humanitarian office, told a news conference that Israel had “severed” two main arteries delivering aid to Gaza. He added that if fuel couldn’t get into the enclave for a period of time, “that would be a very effective way of swamping humanitarian operations.”

The main U.N. agency helping Palestinians in Gaza said on Tuesday that “catastrophic hunger faced by people, especially in northern Gaza, will become even more severe” if aid shipments through the Rafah crossing are disrupted.

Egypt’s foreign ministry condemned the Rafah operation “in the strongest terms” and said on Tuesday afternoon that Israel’s control of the crossing jeopardized the delivery of humanitarian aid and Ability of Gazans to leave the Strip for treatment.

“This dangerous escalation threatens the lives of more than one million Palestinians, who primarily rely on this crossing as it is the main lifeline for the Gaza Strip,” it said in a statement.

Israel opened the Kerem Shalom crossing with Gaza in December under pressure from the United States to speed up the flow of humanitarian aid. However, Israeli protesters often gather at intersections, Trying to prevent aid convoys from entering the enclave hoping to put pressure on Hamas to release the hostages.

Israel bows to pressure from Biden administration after air strikes Killed seven aid workersIsrael said last month it would reopen the Erez crossing into northern Gaza and goods bound for the enclave would be accepted at the Israeli port of Ashdod. When the Erez crossing first opened on May 1, Israel said 30 relief trucks passed through.

United Nations data showed that 128 aid trucks entered Gaza through the Kerem Shalom crossing on Sunday, the latest day for which data are available, and none entered through Rafah. With both crossings closed, it was unclear how much aid arrived in Gaza through other routes on Tuesday. COGAT, the Israeli agency that oversees the delivery of aid to Gaza, explain On Tuesday, 60 trucks passed through the Erez crossing.

Israel imposes strict checks on the aid it receives to block anything that might help Hamas, which it has pledged to eliminate. Since the war began, most aid to Gaza has been delivered through Rafah’s border crossing with Egypt.

Aid groups and foreign diplomats say the inspections create bottleneckand accused Israel of arbitrary refuse aid and systematically limiting deliveries. Israel has denied the claims, blaming the shortage on logistical failures by aid groups and recently increasing the number of trucks entering the strip.

Nick Cumming-Bruce, Ye Weiwei and Matthew M’Poke Biggar Contributed reporting.

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