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Israel bars Iranian humanitarian aid for Gaza through Egypt’s Rafah crossing

The Iranian humanitarian aid is seen at the Imam Khomeini Airport (IKA), southwest of Tehran, Iran, on October 20, 2023, before being flown to Egypt to be transferred to the besieged Gaza Strip through the Rafah border crossing. (Photo by Tasnim news agency)

Israeli authorities have reportedly called upon Egyptian officials to turn away the 60 tons of humanitarian aid that Iran had sent to the Northeast African country to be transferred to the besieged Gaza Strip through the Rafah border crossing.

Lebanon’s Arabic-language al-Mayadeen television news network, citing political sources speaking on condition of anonymity, reported that Egyptian officials have extended apologies to Iranians that they cannot receive any Iranian aid destined for the strip due to the Israeli regime’s refusal to allow it to pass through the crossing.

The aid consignment included food, medical supplies and medicines, according to a report by the Iranian state-run television on October 20.

The aid was sent from the Imam Khomeini Airport (IKA), situated 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) southwest of the Iranian capital city of Tehran, to Egypt in coordination with the Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS).

Last week, the head of the IRCS, Pir-Hossein Kolivand, expressed Iran’s readiness to send humanitarian aid and relief shipments to Egypt to help the residents of the Gaza Strip.

Kolivand contacted his Egyptian counterpart Rami al-Nazer and underlined the need for “continuing support for the oppressed people of Gaza,” stressing Iran’s readiness to dispatch humanitarian aid to the Palestinian enclave via Egypt.

Pointing to the scarcity of fuel to operate generators at Gaza’s hospitals, Kolivand noted that the Iranian Red Crescent Society was prepared to send the necessary fuel, emphasizing that the move would solve energy problems at the medical facilities and help the wounded.

The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS), in a statement on Sunday, said the al-Quds Hospital, the second largest in Gaza, had ceased operations due to a fuel shortage as Israeli forces continue to bomb the besieged enclave.

“The hospital has been left to fend for itself under ongoing Israeli bombardment, posing severe risks to the medical staff, patients and displaced civilians,” the PRCS said.

“This cessation of services is due to the depletion of available fuel and power outage. Medical staff are making every effort to provide care to patients and the wounded, even resorting to unconventional medical methods amid dire humanitarian conditions and a shortage of medical supplies, food, and water,” the organization noted.

The PRCS also held the international community and signatories of the Fourth Geneva Convention accountable for the complete breakdown of Gaza’s healthcare system and the resulting dire humanitarian crisis.

Tommaso Della Longa, spokesperson for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said al-Quds Hospital has been cut off from the world in the last six to seven days.

According to the Gaza Health Ministry’s spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra, Israeli fire is “terrorizing medical officials and civilians alike”.

Israel has launched relentless air and ground attacks on the coastal enclave, including hospitals, residences, and houses of worship, since Palestinian resistance movements carried out a surprise attack, dubbed Operation al-Aqsa Storm, against the regime on October 7.

At least 11,180 Palestinians have been killed, including 4,609 children and 3,100 women. More than 28,000 individuals have sustained injuries as well.

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