Gulf Today

UAE ships with food supplies for Gazans leave Cyprus port


ABU DHABI: Three ships and a barge finally set sail from Cyprus on Saturday following beter weather conditions, carrying hundreds of tonnes of food destined for northern Gaza.

This second shipment, which carries hundreds of tonnes, has enough food to prepare more than one million meals, and includes self stable and ready-to-eat items such as rice, pasta, flour, legumes, canned vegetables, and proteins.

The historic opening of the maritime route to Gaza by sea is conducted by World Central Kitchen and Open Arms, in close partnershi­p with the United Arab Emirates, and the support of Cyprus.

By opening this maritime aid corridor with Open Arms and Cyprus, the UAE and World Central Kitchen are able to scale humanitari­an efforts in Gaza.

To date, World Central Kitchen has provided more than 43 million meals by land, air, and sea to Palestinia­ns facing starvation.

The UAE has delivered 26,000 tonnes of urgent supplies, including food, water, and medical items, dispatched through 229 flights, 19 airdrops, 1,035 trucks, and three ships.

While this initiative is geting desperatel­y needed food to the Palestinia­ns, the opening of land crossings remains paramount to avert famine.

HEAVY CLASHES: Meanwhile, heavy clashes and explosions shook Gaza, witnesses said on Saturday, as the Red Crescent reported several people killed during the latest chaotic aid distributi­on in the territory’s north, where famine looms.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said on Saturday that “famine” in Gaza can be dealt with in a short time if Israel opened the land crossings for aid to enter.

Safadi made the comments at a press conference with his Egyptian and French counterpar­ts in Cairo.

The Palestine Red Crescent said five people were killed and dozens injured by gunfire and a stampede during an aid delivery in Gaza’s north.

Eyewitness­es told reporters that Gazans overseeing the aid delivery shot in the air, but Israeli troops in the area also opened fire and some moving trucks hit people trying to get the food.

The health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza said on Saturday that at least 32,705 people have been killed in the territory during more than five months of war between Israel and Hamas.

9,000 PATIENTS NEED EVACUATION: Some 9,000 patients in the Gaza Strip require evacuation for emergency care, with the war-torn Palestinia­n territory down to just 10 barely functionin­g hospitals, the head of the World Health Organisati­on (WHO) said on Saturday.

“With only 10 hospitals minimally functional across the whole of #Gaza, thousands of patients continue to be deprived of health care,” World Health Organizati­on Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu­s wrote on X.

Before the war, Gaza had 36 hospitals, according to the WHO.

“Around 9,000 patients urgently need to be evacuated abroad for lifesaving health services, including treatment for cancer, injuries from bombardmen­ts, kidney dialysis and other chronic conditions,” he said.

That is up from 8,000 in the WHO’S previous assessment at the beginning of March.

Israel vowed to eliminate Hamas ater the Islamist group’s unpreceden­ted October 7 atack on Israel, and has been bombing Gaza without respite, damaging many healthcare facilities.

Violent ground combat has also been underway for weeks, sometimes around Gaza’s hospitals, which are also providing refuge for thousands who have lost their homes or fled the fighting.

TEEN SHOT DEAD: Israeli forces shot dead a 13-year-old Palestinia­n boy during a raid in the occupied West Bank, the official Palestinia­n news agency Wafa reported on Saturday, an incident which the Israeli military said was under review.

There were confrontat­ions with Israeli forces at the town of Qabatiya, south of Jenin city, during a pre-dawn military raid there, the Wafa report said.

The Israeli military said a number of Palestinia­n gunmen had shot at its troops, who returned fire.

A report was later received regarding a Palestinia­n minor who was killed, the military said.

“The circumstan­ces of the incident are under review,” it said in a statement to media.

The teen’s death was confirmed by Fawaz Hammad, director of Al Razi Hospital in Jenin, Wafa said.

LEBANON PEACEKEEPE­RS: The United Nations said four of its military observers were wounded Saturday when a shell exploded near them in southern Lebanon, where Israel and the Hezbollah movement trade regular cross-border fire.

The United Nations Truce Supervisio­n Organisati­on (UNTSO) did not identify the source of the shelling but Lebanon’s official National News Agency blamed Israel.

“This morning four UNTSO military observers on a foot patrol along the Blue Line (demarcatin­g the border with Israel) were injured when a shell exploded near their location,” UNTSO said.

“The targeting of peacekeepe­rs is unacceptab­le,” it said in a statement, adding that they were taken to hospital for treatment and an investigat­ion launched into the origin of the explosion.

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