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No emergency aid has arrived via the Israeli border crossing, which is supposed to be open

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Trucks with emergency aid in the inspection area at the Kerem Shalom border crossing. The Israeli military claimed on Wednesday morning to have opened the crossing, but the same evening UNRWA claimed that no emergency aid had arrived. Photo: Ohan Zwigenberg / AP / NTB

Of NTB | 05/09/2024 03:53:58

Policy: The Kerem Shalom crossing was closed over the weekend after a Hamas attack nearby killed four Israeli soldiers, but Israel announced Wednesday morning that it was open again.

On Tuesday, an Israeli tank brigade took control of the border crossing between Israel and Egypt at Rafah, which is nearby.

The two crossings are the main terminals for bringing in food, medicine and other vital supplies for the 2.3 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

After taking control of the Rafah crossing, Israel now controls all entry points to the Gaza Strip.

Carl Skau, head of the UN Food Program (WFP), tells AP that the organization has lost access to its warehouse in Rafah.

– We believe that it is still there, but we are extremely worried about looting, Skau said on Wednesday. He added that another UN warehouse in Rafah had already been looted.

WFP has secured a warehouse in Deir al-Balah in the center of the Gaza Strip, but it has not been filled with food yet, according to Skau.

But aid workers say the Israeli blockade of Rafah, where fuel for cars and generators comes in, could have serious consequences. According to the UN, there is already “full famine” in northern Gaza.

Some food has been delivered to the northern areas in recent weeks, according to Skau.

– When we got there, extremely weak people came out of the ruins, they were not even able to carry the box of food, he said. He added that an increase in infectious diseases among children could worsen the crisis.

Kerem Shalom is the main entry point for emergency aid to the Gaza Strip. Communications Director Juliette Touma of the United Nations Organization for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) said late Wednesday afternoon that no new emergency aid had arrived in the Gaza Strip, and that the organization has been forced to ration the fuel it imports through Rafah.

The UN and aid organizations have stepped up humanitarian work in recent weeks, after Israel removed some restrictions and opened a further border crossing in northern Gaza following pressure from the US.

(© NTB)

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