CAIRO (Reuters) -New aid flights arrived on Saturday in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula where relief materials are being held until an agreement is reached for delivery into the nearby Gaza Strip, a Red Crescent official and an aid volunteer said.
Egypt says its side of the Rafah crossing that connects Sinai with the Gaza Strip remains open, though traffic has been halted for several days due to Israeli bombardments on the Palestinian side of the border.
Two Egyptian security sources said the planned evacuation of some people in Gaza holding foreign passports had been held up because of the lack of any deal being negotiated with Israel and the United States to send aid into the enclave.
A senior U.S. State Department spokesman said the United States had informed its citizens that they might move closer to the crossing, after talks with Egypt, Israel and Qatar aimed at opening it.
Washington has been in contact with Palestinian-Americans inside Gaza, some of whom expressed a wish to leave via Rafah, but it was unclear if Palestinian Islamist group Hamas would allow access to the crossing, a senior State Department official said earlier.
Egypt has been reinforcing security on its side of the border, including moving concrete barriers, but reports that troops were sealing off the crossing were incorrect, a third Egyptian security source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The Rafah crossing is the main exit point for the Gaza Strip's 2.3 million residents that is not controlled by Israel. Israel and Egypt have upheld a blockade on the enclave, controlling the movement of goods and people since Hamas took control in 2007.
Israel's military spokesperson said on Saturday that the border remains closed and any crossing into Egypt needed to be coordinated with Israel.
Two aid flights, including one from Turkey, have landed at Sinai's Al Arish airport, about 45 km (28 miles) from the Gaza border, bringing the total number of planes that have arrived this week carrying humanitarian relief for Gaza to at least five, the Red Cross official and the aid volunteer said.
The World Health Organization said a plane carrying trauma medicines and health supplies had landed.
"Every hour these supplies remain on the Egyptian side of the border, more girls and boys, women and men, especially those vulnerable or disabled, will die," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement.
There is alarm in Egypt over the prospect that residents in Gaza could be displaced by Israel's siege and bombardment of the territory, launched in retaliation for the devastating incursion by Hamas militants.
Like other Arab states, it has said that Palestinians should stay on their lands as the war escalates, and that it is working to secure delivery of aid into the Gaza Strip.
During a visit to Cairo on Saturday, Turkey's foreign minister said he supported Egypt's position.
Germany is among the countries working to get aid into Gaza and evacuate its nationals, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said during a separate visit to the Egyptian capital.
(Reporting by Yusri Mohamed; Additional reporting by Humeyra Pamuk; Writing by Aidan Lewis; Editing by Sharon Singleton and Mike Harrison)