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The US secretary of state says aid gains in Gaza could be lost as fighting in Rafah intensifies.

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Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry quickly rebutted, saying the crossing remained closed because Israel controlled it and that Israeli military operations put truckers and aid workers at risk . In a statement from Egypt’s Foreign Ministry, Shoukry rejected what he called a “policy that distorts the facts.”

Israeli officials rarely publicly criticize Egypt, with which Israel maintains a decades-old peace treaty and sensitive security cooperation.

Ignoring international pressure, Israel launched a limited invasion of Rafah on May 6 and occupied the eastern region. Even if trucks are allowed through the Rafah crossing, it’s unclear whether they will be able to safely pass east of Rafah, where Israeli forces have been battling Hamas militants.

Israel recently opened two new routes for aid trucks to directly enter northern Gaza.

“We’re also seeing real progress in the north, where more progress is being made,” Mr. Blinken said. “But what we don’t want to see is that we basically reverse what has happened in recent months.”

The Rafah crossing is not the only choke point for aid. Since the Israeli invasion of Rafah, only a handful of trucks have passed through the Kerem Shalom crossing between Israel and Gaza. Wal Abu Omar, a spokesman for the Palestinian side of the crossing, said Palestinian workers evacuated the crossing ahead of the arrival of Israeli troops.

Two Palestinian officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Israel has asked the Palestinian Authority to send its employees to help manage the crossing, but not in an official capacity. They discussed information exchanged between Israel and the Palestinian authorities.

Officials said authority leadership quickly rejected the proposal.

Mahmoud Habash, religious affairs adviser to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, said Israel needs to withdraw from the crossing before Palestinian Authority employees can operate it.

“How do we work with Israeli tanks there?” he asked in an interview. “This is unacceptable in principle, not to mention dangerous for Palestinians.”

Mr Habash said the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah also needed to be reassured that returning power to the Rafah crossing was part of a wider effort to reintegrate governing bodies into Gaza.

“We do not reject a series of measures, but it must be understood that the Rafah crossing is part of Gaza, the solution for the Rafah crossing is part of the Gaza solution, and the Gaza solution is part of the Gaza solution for all areas of the State of Palestine. solution,” he said.

In public statements, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has all but ruled out the return of U.S.-backed power to Gaza.

Aaron Boxerman Contributed reporting.

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