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Morocco secures land route to deliver aid to Gaza

RABAT (Reuters) - A shipment of humanitarian aid from Morocco for Palestinians in Gaza began entering the besieged enclave via a land route on Tuesday, the first time the Kerem Shalom border crossing from Israel has been used for aid in five months of warfare, a Moroccan diplomatic source said.

The 40 tonnes of aid was being delivered by truck into northern Gaza along a route that the Rabat government has been able to secure as it had established diplomatic relations with Israel, the source said.

Morocco resumed diplomatic ties with Israel in 2020.

"By securing a land route to deliver aid from within Israel, Morocco shows that its connections in Israel serve the cause of peace and defend the rights of Palestinians," the source said.

The aid was shipped by air to Israel, before it was loaded at the crossing onto trucks operated by the Palestinian Red Crescent, which will ensure it reaches the needy in northern Gaza, the source told Reuters.

The trucks entered the Gaza Strip through the Kerem Shalom crossing to avoid the complexities of the Rafah crossing on Gaza's border with Egypt or by air drop, said the source, who asked not be named.

Five months of Israeli military action in Gaza in its war against Hamas militants has left the civilian population in desperate condition, with international aid officials saying children are dying of starvation and a famine is looming due to the difficulties of getting supplies into the enclave.

"The aid, which coincides with the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan, is sent to alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian population, notably the most vulnerable," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Since the onset of the war in Gaza, protests have been staged in Moroccan cities in solidarity with the Palestinians.

(Reporting by Ahmed Eljechtimi, Editing by Angus MacSwan)