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Israel opens Kerem Shalom crossing with Gaza for 1st time since conflict

Israel opened the Kerem Shalom border crossing with the Gaza Strip, allowing the first entry of aid through the crucial channel into Gaza since the start of its conflict with Hamas on October 7.

A government official, speaking anonymously, confirmed that security screening at the crossing has begun, allowing the entry of “several” aid shipments on Sunday into the enclave, Xinhua news agency reported.

The decision to open the crossing was approved by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet on Friday. According to a statement from Netanyahu’s office, the move specifically permits the transfer of humanitarian aid from Egypt into Gaza.

The office said the opening was made “in order to abide by the terms” of the hostage release agreement that was signed and carried out in November. Under this agreement, Israel is committed to facilitating the daily entry of 200 truckloads of food and humanitarian aid from Egypt into Gaza. However, only 100 trucks managed to pass through the Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza each day.

Kerem Shalom, situated on the border of Egypt, Israel, and Gaza, has served as an important passage for goods in and out of Gaza, offering a more efficient transit route compared to the Rafah crossing.

Gaza was in desperate need of humanitarian aid, food, and clean water due to Israel’s siege of the enclave in early October. The relentless Israeli bombardment had destroyed much of the infrastructure and disrupted the local food supply chain.

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