Egypt receives humanitarian aid bound for Gaza

Thursday October 12 2023

People search the rubble of destroyed buildings following an Israeli strike, as battles between Israel and the Hamas movement continue for the sixth consecutive day in the city of Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip on October 12, 2023. PHOTO | AFP


The first shipment of humanitarian aid arrived in Egypt's Sinai Thursday from Jordan, state-affiliated media reported, to be transported into Gaza, which Israel has been bombarding for days following a surprise Hamas attack.

Israel's army has hammered Hamas with thousands of strikes ahead of what is widely expected to be a ground invasion of the crowded territory, after Hamas gunmen killed 1,200 Israelis, mostly civilians, and took about 150 hostages during the weekend attack.

More than 1,350 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza as Israel has levelled entire city blocks and destroyed thousands of buildings in the six days since Hamas militants launched their unprecedented attack.

Read: Gaza disfigured by air strikes, siege

El-Arish airport, 50 kilometres (30 miles) away from the Rafah border crossing into Gaza, "has been designated by Egyptian authorities to receive international humanitarian aid from different parties and international organisations", Egypt's foreign ministry said in a Thursday statement.

It was not immediately clear when the aid would arrive in Gaza, after three Israeli air strikes on the Rafah border crossing -- the only entry point into Gaza not controlled by Israel -- resulted in its closure.


Calls for aid to Gaza have multiplied, including from United Nations chief Antonio Guterres, who spoke with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Wednesday.

Israel has imposed a "complete siege" on the Gaza Strip, cutting off water, food, electricity and other essential supplies after Hamas's assault.

United Nations human rights chief Volker Turk said the siege was "prohibited" under international humanitarian law.

Six days of relentless bombardment of Gaza have left the tiny territory in tatters, with residential buildings, mosques, factories and schools all hit.

Read: Israel-Palestine war: The deadly battles

The UN says over 338,000 people have been forced to flee their homes.

Gaza's only power plant shut down Wednesday after running out of fuel, according to the Palestinian enclave's electricity authority.

Between Monday and Tuesday, Israel launched three air strikes on the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing, which has been closed since.

Gaza is one of the most densely populated places on the planet, with 2.4 million people -- half of them children -- living on a 362-square-kilometre (140-square-mile) strip of land.