Gaza aid reaches Egypt, heading for Rafah

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The foreign ministry announced on Tuesday that the initial shipment of humanitarian aid for Palestinians in Gaza from Cyprus and the UK, weighing nearly 90 tonnes, has reached Egypt’s Port Said and is en route to the Rafah crossing.

The aid shipment, which includes ten tonnes of medicine from Cyprus, arrived in Port Said on Tuesday on board the Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessel RFA Lyme Bay.

“The Republic of Cyprus and the United Kingdom collaborated closely to dispatch the aid through a suitable UK vessel. The choice of delivery option was determined based on on-the-ground conditions,” the foreign ministry announcement said.

The first aid shipment, and the effectiveness of maritime humanitarian corridor promoted by Nicosia, had become a subject of speculation, as it had been dispatched two weeks ago.

Commenting on the decision to send the aid to Gaza through the Rafah crossing, rather the initial maritime corridor, the ministry noted that, “the Republic of Cyprus acknowledges that it cannot control all aspects, but is diligently working to assist in addressing the rapidly deteriorating situation”.

The maritime humanitarian corridor initiative, dubbed ‘Amalthia,’ adhered to two parameters from the outset, as disclosed in the foreign ministry’s statement on Tuesday.

Security needs

The first involved setting up an operational mechanism for the safe reception, storage and loading of significant aid quantities, addressing heightened security needs.

The second parameter focused on ensuring cooperation with states possessing suitable sea transport facilities, depending on the chosen delivery point (Gaza, Egypt, Israel) and timing based on on-the-ground conditions.

“Israel has publicly accepted and practically supported both parameters, and ongoing consultations involve other key stakeholders such as the Palestinian Authority and the United Nations,” said the ministry.

Diplomats and staff of the Cyprus Embassy in Cairo were present when the humanitarian cargo arrived in Port Said.

The first aid shipment will now be transferred to the Rafah crossing in coordination with the Egyptian Red Crescent, following established procedures.