WhatsApp Logo Subscribe
For News Alert

News

Gaza truce efforts revived as first aid ship unloaded

By AFP

March 16, 2024 10:47 PM


Twitter Share Facebook Share WhatsApp Share

Efforts towards a truce in the Israel-Hamas war appeared to rekindle on Saturday after a new proposal from the Palestinian militant group which also called for more aid into Gaza, where the first food shipment by sea reached shore.

Israel said it would send a delegation to Qatar for a new round of talks on a possible deal. It also advanced plans for a military operation in Rafah, where most of Gaza's population has sought refuge from more than five months of war and deprivation.

The US charity World Central Kitchen said its team had finished unloading almost 200 tonnes of food, the first shipment to arrive on a new maritime aid corridor from Cyprus.

"All cargo was offloaded and is being readied for distribution in Gaza," it said in a statement.

The Cypriot government said that a second aid ship, the Jennifer, was set "to depart for Gaza today (Saturday) or tomorrow".

The vessel was expected to carry 240 tonnes of food, World Central Kitchens said.

The United Nations has reported particular difficulty in accessing north Gaza to distribute food and other aid.

Residents say they have resorted to eating wild plants and animal fodder, and some have stormed the few aid trucks that have made it through.

"Doctors are reporting that they no longer see normal-sized babies," Dominic Allen, of the United Nations Population Fund, said after visiting the area.

  'God help us'

With the situation increasingly dire, donors have turned to deliveries by air or sea.

Multiple governments have begun daily aid airdrops over Gaza. The German air force said on Saturday it successfully made its first aid drop over north Gaza.

The new maritime corridor is to be complemented by a temporary pier which US troops are on their way to build.

But air and sea missions are no alternative to land deliveries, UN agencies say. Humanitarians have cited Israeli restrictions as among the obstacles they face.

Before the war an average of around 500 trucks a day entered Gaza, the UN has said, but the current number is a fraction of that.

The health ministry in Hamas-ruled Gaza said at least 63 people had been killed over the previous 24 hours.

Earlier Saturday, ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra reported 36 deaths from a strike on a house sheltering displaced people in Nuseirat, central Gaza.

AFPTV images showed a building blown apart. Yussef Tabatibi said survivors were trying to recover the dead with only their bare hands.

"What should we do? God help us," he said.

Witnesses reported air strikes and fighting in the southern Gaza Strip's main city Khan Yunis as well as parts of the north.

 Talks  

In negotiations aimed at securing a truce and hostage release deal, Hamas has put forward a new proposal for a six-week ceasefire and the exchange of about 42 Israeli hostages for Palestinian prisoners held by Israel, an official from the Islamist group told AFP.

Palestinian militants seized about 250 Israeli and foreign hostages during the Hamas attack which triggered the war on October 7.

Dozens of captives were released during a week-long truce in November. Israel believes about 130 remain in Gaza, including 32 presumed dead.

The Hamas attack resulted in about 1,160 deaths in Israel, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally of official figures.

Israel's retaliatory campaign against Hamas has killed at least 31,553 people in Gaza, most of them women and children, according to the health ministry.

Until Friday, Hamas had insisted no further hostages would be exchanged without a permanent ceasefire and an Israeli withdrawal from Gaza.

Now the militants are saying that, during a six-week truce, Israeli forces would need to pull out of "all cities and populated areas" in Gaza, according to the Hamas official.

The Hamas proposal also calls for more humanitarian aid, the official added.

Israel has so far rejected withdrawing troops from Gaza, saying such a move would amount to victory for Hamas.

The White House said Friday it was "cautiously optimistic" about the prospects for a new truce after the latest proposal from Hamas but stressed that negotiations were far from over.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said Israel would send a delegation to Qatar for a new round of talks.

Israel did not attend earlier negotiations in Cairo that failed to secure a truce for the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which began on Monday.

  'Not self-defence' -

 The United States, which provides Israel with billions of dollars in military assistance, has grown increasingly critical of Netanyahu over his handling of the war.

US President Joe Biden praised unusually critical comments by Senate leader Chuck Schumer, who described Netanyahu as one of several "major obstacles" to peace and called for a snap Israeli election.

"I think he expressed serious concern shared not only by him, but by many Americans," Biden said.

Netanyahu's office said on Friday he had approved the military's plan for an operation against Hamas in Rafah, where around 1.5 million people have sought refuge, many sheltering in tents along the Egyptian border.

There was no timeline for the long-threatened operation which Washington has said it cannot support without a "credible, achievable, executable plan" to shelter civilians.


AFP


Most Read

  1. Water tariff doubled for Lahore consumers Water tariff doubled for Lahore consumers
  2. Here are the top 21 finalists for Miss Universe Pakistan 2024 Here are the top 21 finalists for Miss Universe Pakistan 2024
  3. ‘Bado Badi’ girl Wajdan Rao blocks Chahat Fateh Ali Khan for ‘cheap’ action ‘Bado Badi’ girl Wajdan Rao blocks Chahat Fateh Ali Khan for ‘cheap’ action
  4. Amitabh Bachchan’s mimicry expert dies Amitabh Bachchan’s mimicry expert dies
  5. Here is what Heeramandi’s Cartwright, Jason Shah has to say about Alamzeb's ‘one tone’ performance Here is what Heeramandi’s Cartwright, Jason Shah has to say about Alamzeb's ‘one tone’ performance
  6. IHC summons defence secy, ISI sector commander over poet Farhad Shah’s disappearance IHC summons defence secy, ISI sector commander over poet Farhad Shah’s disappearance

Opinion

  1. Hats off to Fatah-II
    Hats off to Fatah-II

    By Naveed Aman Khan

  2. New twist in PTI founder’s strategy towards Military Establishment
    New twist in PTI founder’s strategy towards Military Establishment

    By Salim Bokhari

  3. Revoke the heat stroke
    Revoke the heat stroke

    By Dr Asif Channer

  4. Defiance, sacrifice & national resilience
    Defiance, sacrifice & national resilience

    By Naveed Aman Khan

  5. Maryam Nawaz Sharif's Police Uniform: Breaking Gender Stereotypes, Not Minds
    Maryam Nawaz Sharif's Police Uniform: Breaking Gender Stereotypes, Not Minds

    By Alysha Khan

  6. Pak-Saudi-Iran economic proximity
    Pak-Saudi-Iran economic proximity

    By News Desk