Conflicts & War

Egypt repairing road to Gaza border ahead of reopening for humanitarian aid

Cairo, Oct 19 (EFE).- Egypt on Thursday started paving and repairing the road leading to the Rafah crossing with the Gaza Strip, ahead of the anticipated reopening of the border to allow the entry of humanitarian aid from Egypt into the besieged enclave.

The road had been damaged by Israeli bombing, an Egyptian security official, who requested anonymity, told Efe Thursday.

“Egypt has already begun paving and repairing the roads to the Rafah crossing and inside the crossing,” said the source, who requested anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to the media.

He said that the repair work could be completed by the end of the day and the crossing will be ready for aid to start flowing in from Friday, although he could not confirm whether or when it would be opened.

Hundreds of trucks loaded with 3,000 tons of humanitarian supplies have been waiting for days at the crossing waiting for it to open.

Humanitarian workers at the Rafah crossing are growing increasingly frustrated as they are unable to access Gaza to deliver essential aid.

Heba Rashed, founder of the NGO Mersal Foundation, expressed the frustration of volunteers who want to assist Gaza but cannot do so.

“They want to help, and they have the aid, but they cannot enter,” said Rashed, whose team is in Rafah.

Rashed said the volunteers do not want to give up and are determined to stay put until aid can be delivered.

“We are all day with our cell phones in our hands, waiting for any signal to move,” said the director of the NGO.

The nonprofit has readied two truckloads of medicines and medical supplies and a team of doctors, nurses, and paramedics.

United States President Joe Biden announced Wednesday that he had agreed with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and his Egyptian counterpart, Abdelfatah al Sisi, to deliver aid through the crossing, raising hopes that the border could reopen as early as Friday.

While the crossing is now open on the Egyptian side, it remains closed on the Palestinian side of the border because Israel had not given permission to reopen.

The road has also suffered extensive damage due to at least four Israeli air strikes since Oct 7, when Hamas, the Islamist group that governs the Gaza Strip, launched a brutal attack on Israel that triggered the current escalation.

The Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing was even attacked by Israel while workers were trying to repair it, causing injuries to at least four Egyptian laborers, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri said. EFE


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