Egypt says it will send aid trucks into Gaza through Kerem Shalom crossing

24 May 2024, 19:04

Israel Palestinians
Israel Palestinians. Picture: PA

The agreement aims to reverse a dramatic drop in UN aid entering Gaza since Israel launched its offensive on the southern city of Rafah.

Egypt says it has agreed to send humanitarian aid trucks and fuel through Israel’s Kerem Shalom crossing into Gaza for the United Nations, after a call between President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi and US President Joe Biden.

The agreement aims to reverse a dramatic drop in UN aid entering the Gaza Strip since Israel launched its offensive on the southern Gaza city of Rafah on May 6.

Whether it will do so remains unclear, as UN officials say they are largely unable to reach the Kerem Shalom crossing to pick up the aid that enters, because fighting in the area makes it too dangerous.

Egypt had halted co-operation with Israel on entry of aid into Gaza after Israeli troops seized the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt during its offensive.

Egypt says Palestinian officials must be put back in charge of the Rafah crossing. Most humanitarian aid for Gaza comes from Egypt, and most of that was previously flowing on trucks through Rafah.

In a statement on Friday, Mr el-Sissi’s office said he had spoken by phone with Mr Biden and agreed to temporarily send trucks carrying humanitarian aid and fuel for the United Nations to the Kerem Shalom crossing. It said the Rafah crossing would not be reactivated until a legal framework is found.

The White House has become increasingly frustrated with Egypt over the aid issue and US officials have conveyed to Egypt that more aid should be flowing through Kerem Shalom, according to a senior administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the matter.

The UN, however, has said it can rarely reach Kerem Shalom to pick up the entering aid because of the untenable security situation. Commercial trucks have continued to flow through the crossing, bringing food and other supplies for sale in Gaza markets.

By Press Association

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