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Aid efforts to Gaza intensify as EU calls starvation 'weapon of war'


Palestinian children wait to receive food in Rafah. /Mohammed Salem/Reuters
Palestinian children wait to receive food in Rafah. /Mohammed Salem/Reuters

Palestinian children wait to receive food in Rafah. /Mohammed Salem/Reuters

Donor nations, aid agencies and charities pushed on with efforts on Wednesday (March 13) to rush food to war-torn Gaza by land, air and sea after the EU top diplomat said starvation had become "a weapon of war."

The Israel-Hamas conflict raging since October 7 has caused mass civilian deaths, reduced vast areas to a rubble-strewn wasteland and sparked warnings of looming famine in the Palestinian territory of 2.4 million people.

A Spanish charity vessel, the Open Arms, was on its way to Gaza from Cyprus, where it had set sail early on Tuesday (March 12) towing a barge with 200 tons of aid, in a first voyage meant to open a maritime corridor.

The flow of aid trucks from Egypt into Gaza has slowed recently - a trend variously blamed on Israel and its security checks of cargo, and on civil unrest in Gaza where desperate crowds have looted aid shipments.

About half a dozen Arab and Western nations have airdropped food parcels on parachutes into Gaza, and Morocco has sent a planeload of relief supplies via Israel's Ben Gurion airport.

The UN World Food Programme, trying an alternative land route from southern Israel, sent an initial six aid trucks on Tuesday into worst-hit northern Gaza, through a gate in the security fence, the Israeli army said.

The WFP said it had "delivered enough food for 25,000 people" and demanded that, "with people in northern Gaza on the brink of famine, we need deliveries every day. We need entry points directly into the north."


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The European Union's foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell told the UN Security Council on Tuesday that the humanitarian crisis "is man-made."

Türkish Foreign Ministry Spokesman Oncu Keceli told reporters at a briefing in Ankara that Türkiye had sent 9,000 tons of medical equipment and aid for infants, as well as many parachutes to Jordan for the air drops, but added these were not enough to alleviate the struggle of Gazans.


Lebanese drone strike

An Israeli drone strike on a car outside the southern Lebanese city of Tyre on Wednesday killed a member of Hamas from the nearby Palestinian camp of Rashidieh, Israeli and Hamas officials said.

A Hamas source, speaking to Reuters, identified the member as Hadi Mustafa but said he was not a senior figure. Hamas's Al Aqsa television said Mustafa was a leader of the group's armed wing.

The Israeli military confirmed it had killed Mustafa in southern Lebanon and called him a "significant" Hamas operative, alleging he was responsible for attacks against Israeli and Jewish targets around the world.

Two security sources said a Syrian man who was passing by on his motorcycle was also killed in the strike, after earlier saying that the two fatalities had been in Mustafa's car.

All three sources said the drone, which they identified as Israeli, hovered in the air above the site of the strike for several minutes after it was carried out.

Hamas, the Palestinian faction that carried out a deadly incursion into southern Israel from the Gaza Strip on October 7, also has a political and military presence in Lebanon, largely based in camps where Palestinian refugees have lived for decades.

Lebanese armed group Hezbollah launched rockets at Israel in October in support of Hamas. Since then, Israel has been carrying out strikes in Lebanon, mostly confined to the border region but increasingly spreading further north and east.

Aid efforts to Gaza intensify as EU calls starvation 'weapon of war'

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Source(s): AFP ,Reuters
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