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Humanitarian aid starts entering Gaza


Rafah, Egypt - Trucks carrying humanitarian aid for war-torn and besieged Gaza started passing into the Rafah border crossing from Egypt Saturday, a security source and an Egyptian Red Crescent official told AFP.

Egyptian state television showed several trucks entering the gate on the 15th day of the conflict.

Rafah is the only route into Gaza that is not controlled by Israel, which agreed to allow aid in from Egypt following a request from its top ally the United States.

Twenty trucks from the Egyptian Red Crescent, which is responsible for delivering aid from various UN agencies, entered the Egyptian terminal, an AFP correspondent said.

An AFP journalist on the Palestinian side of the crossing saw 36 empty trailers entering the terminal and heading towards the Egyptian side, where they were to be loaded with the incoming aid.

Four ambulances, two UN vehicles, and two Red Cross vehicles were also seen heading into the terminal.

Cargo planes and trucks have been bringing humanitarian aid to the Egyptian side of Rafah for days, but so far none has been delivered to Gaza.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday visited the Egyptian side of the crossing to oversee preparations for the aid delivery.

"These trucks are not just trucks, they are a lifeline," he said. "They are the difference between life and death for so many people in Gaza."

The US Embassy in Israel said the Gaza-Egypt border may open on Saturday, suggesting that such a move would enable foreigners to leave Gaza. In a social media post, the embassy said it had "received info" that the Rafah crossing would open at 10 a.m."We do not know how long it will remain open for foreign citizens to depart Gaza," it added.

An updated analysis of satellite imagery shows areas in the Gaza Strip that have been significantly damaged in the first 11 days of Israel’s airstrikes.

Northern Gaza has continued to receive the brunt of the attacks in recent days, as airstrikes pummeled large parts of Beit Hanoun and the regions near Rimal and Al Jadidah.

Strikes also inflicted more damage on the Shati and Jabaliya refugee camps, both of which were previously hit in the earliest days of the war.

Areas along the Salah Al-Din Road, one of two major routes used by Palestinians moving to the southern part of Gaza, were also significantly damaged.

Dozens of civilians were killed by strikes as they attempted to flee south, according to the Interior Ministry in Gaza.

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