Egypt agrees to move humanitarian aid through war-torn Rafah

Egypt has agreed to send United Nations humanitarian aid trucks through Israel’s main crossing into Gaza, but it’s unclear if they can enter into the southern city of Rafah as Israel ramps up its offensive against Hamas militants.

Israeli troops seized the Rafah crossing into Egypt and it has been inoperative since. However, the Kerem Shalom crossing into Israel has remained open, The Associated Press reported.

Israel said it has been sending trucks across the port of entry, but the U.N. says it can’t reach Kerem Shalom because the fighting makes it too dangerous.

The U.N. said it has only received 143 trucks in the last 19 days. Hundreds of trucks of aid have been sitting in Gaza unretrieved by a humanitarian group, Israeli officials said, per the AP.

Instead, the U.N. has had to deliver aid from a northern Gaza border crossing and the newly built U.S. pier that brings supplies by sea.

Nearly 900,000 people are fleeting Rafah, the city they took refuge at throughout the war, as Israel continues its military operation in the region. Relief agencies say there’s nowhere safe left for them to go.

Israeli officials claim that they must invade the city since it’s the last remaining stronghold for Hamas. Despite consistent criticism from around the globe, the Israeli military has increased the number of troops present in and around Rafah.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) issued a ruling Friday for Israel to stop its Rafah operations immediately, over accusations of the Israeli military carrying out genocide against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

The ruling also called for Israel to open the Rafah crossing with Egypt for “unhindered provision” of “urgently needed” basic services and humanitarian aid.

The announcement from Egypt appears to resolve an issue on one side of the border. Israel claims that it’s kept the Rafah crossing open and has asked Egypt to coordinate when sending aid convoys, the AP reported.

Egypt has refused and demanded that Palestinians be put back in charge of the crossing, but the U.S. has asked the nation to resume efforts so more trucks can reach Palestinians.

The ICJ ruling is a major condemnation of how Israel is conducting its war against Hamas but it’s not known how it will be enforced. The court does not have an enforcement mechanism and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has denied other requests for Israel to scale back its operations.

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