US confirms first aid trucks arriving via Gaza ship

image source, Good pictures

image caption, Trucks lined up near the beach to carry aid to Gaza

  • author, Vicky Wong
  • stock, BBC News

The US military has confirmed that the first shipment of humanitarian aid has arrived in Gaza via a temporary floating vessel.

US Central Command said aid trucks began moving ashore at around 09:00 local time (07:00 BST) on Friday.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said that 8,400 plastic shelters have been provided. Around 500 tonnes of British aid, including tents, sanitary kits and forklift trucks, is expected to reach Gaza in the coming weeks via a US-built ship.

However, Mr Sunak said the sea route was “not the only answer” to the enclave’s humanitarian crisis.

“We need to see more land routes open, including the Rafah Crossing, to ensure more aid gets safely to the public in need.”

UK Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron said: “Kazans are at risk of famine and need essential supplies – Israel must ensure that land routes are open and that aid gets safely to where it is needed.”

Both Mr Sunak and Lord Cameron are calling on the Israelis to fulfill their commitment to allow at least 500 aid trucks a day into Gaza, where some 2.2 million people urgently need food, shelter and other assistance.

He added that the Rafah crossing – which Israel seized last week – “must be opened immediately”. Israel and Egypt blame each other for its closure.

The tunnel is expected to provide access to 90 truckloads initially, increasing to 150 once fully operational.

British personnel are working alongside American personnel at RFA Cardigan Bay to build and operate the ship.

As Israel continues its military campaign against Hamas, the US began building a floating base a few weeks ago to facilitate the delivery of aid to Gaza.

Small U.S. military ships — capable of carrying between five and 15 tons of aid — then carried it to the floating vessel, which is several hundred meters long and anchored off the coast in Gaza.

The trucks traveled alongside the ship before offloading aid at a marshalling yard on the coast.

Officials said the UN, primarily the World Food Programme, would be responsible for distributing the aid.

The Israeli offensive began on October 7 after Hamas gunmen exploded in southern Israel, killing 1,200 people and taking 252 hostages to Gaza.

More than 35,000 Palestinians have been killed, according to figures from the Health Ministry, which is run by Hama.

image caption, Aid will be collected from the floating platform before being transported to Gaza

They were evacuated via the Kerem Shalom crossing on Friday, US diplomats were quoted as saying. That crossing was also closed by Israel last week, but has since reopened.

image source, Ministry of Defence

image caption, The UK government has confirmed that British workers have helped deliver enough food to feed 11,000 people.

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