Conflicts & War

Egypt says Israel hasn’t allowed Gaza crossing to reopen as UN warns of catastrophe

Cairo/Jerusalem/Gaza, Oct 16 (EFE).- Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said on Monday that Israel had not yet allowed the opening of the border crossing between Egypt and the besieged Gaza Strip to deliver aid and facilitate the evacuation of foreigners as the situation in the Middle East remained on the brink of a catastrophe.

Shokry said he had spoken with all world leaders, including United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, regarding Israel’s stance on allowing humanitarian aid into Gaza. Regrettably.

“Unfortunately, we did not get any response,” he said in a joint presser with French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna in Cairo.

Colonna is in Egypt to discuss the Middle East crisis that escalated after Hamas launched a multi-pronged attack on Israel last week, sparking indiscriminate bombing of the strip by the Israeli military.

“The current situation cannot continue like this. Israel’s actions have transgressed all principles of international humanitarian law,” the Egyptian minister said.

Egypt had planned to open the border crossing on Monday to enable the delivery of humanitarian aid and the evacuation of foreigners from the Palestinian enclave.

The UN had earlier warned that the ongoing intense Israeli bombardment on the blockaded strip caused thousands of casualties and displacement, pushing the region “on the verge of the abyss.”

Israel has been preparing for a potential ground invasion of Gaza as hectic diplomatic efforts go on to deliver aid to the region.

Egypt had agreed to reopen the Rafah crossing, which connects the Gaza Strip to the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula, being the only passage in and out of the enclave not controlled by Israel.

An Egyptian security source, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the situation, told EFE that “the crossing will be opened today, although the timing is yet to be confirmed.”

The US, with Egypt, Israel, and Qatar, has negotiated an agreement allowing hundreds of foreigners and Palestinians holding passports from various countries, including Americans and Europeans, to depart from Gaza through the Rafah crossing.

However, Egyptian authorities have said they would permit foreigners from Gaza to enter their country if aid is simultaneously allowed to reach the 2.2 million people in the crowded enclave.

Much-needed humanitarian aid, including medicine for Gaza’s hospitals, awaits transit through the Rafah crossing.

The situation in Gaza has rapidly deteriorated following Israel’s indiscriminate bombing and the looming threat of a ground invasion.

Thousands of lives have been lost and hundreds of thousands displaced due to Israel’s ongoing airstrikes and blockade, leading to critical shortages of clean water and essential supplies after the Hamas militant group launched an attack on October 7 on several locations inside Israel followed by Israel’s subsequent declaration of war.

The UN reported that clean water and other vital supplies were dwindling inside Gaza.

“In this dramatic moment, as we are on the verge of the abyss in the Middle East, it is my duty as Secretary-General of the United Nations to make two strong humanitarian appeals,” said UN chief António Guterres in a press statement.

Philippe Lazzarini, the head of the UN agency dealing with Palestinian refugees, said its operation was “on the verge of collapse” and that “not one drop of water, not one grain of wheat, not a liter of fuel” had been allowed into the Gaza Strip for the last eight days.

The UN has confirmed the displacement of at least 600,000 Palestinians from the north to the center and south of Gaza in response to Israel’s evacuation order before a potential ground assault against the Hamas militant group.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denied media reports on Monday that there was a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.

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