Syria’s two main airports out of service after Israel strikes: state media


RIYADH: The first shipment of humanitarian aid arrived in Egypt’s Sinai Thursday from Jordan, state-affiliated media reported, to be transported into Gaza, which Israel has been bombarding for days following a surprise Hamas attack.

The Jordanian plane, equipped by the Jordan Hashemite Charity Organization in coordination with the Jordanian Foreign Ministry and the Royal Air Force, is carrying essential medical supplies in response to the growing number of Palestinians wounded in the war, according to Jordan’s news agency PETRA.
Israel’s army has hammered Hamas with thousands of strikes ahead of what is widely expected to be a ground invasion of the crowded territory, after Hamas gunmen killed 1,200 Israelis, mostly civilians, and took about 150 hostages during the weekend attack.
More than 1,350 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza as Israel has levelled entire city blocks and destroyed thousands of buildings in the six days since Hamas militants launched their unprecedented attack.
El-Arish airport, 50 kilometers (30 miles) away from the Rafah border crossing into Gaza, “has been designated by Egyptian authorities to receive international humanitarian aid from different parties and international organizations,” Egypt’s foreign ministry said in a Thursday statement.
It was not immediately clear when the aid would arrive in Gaza, after three Israeli air strikes on the Rafah border crossing — the only entry point into Gaza not controlled by Israel — resulted in its closure.

Egypt called on Thursday for humanitarian relief to be provided to Palestinian civilians inside the Gaza Strip and asked Israel to avoid targeting the Palestinian side of the crossing after strikes that prevented normal operations there.

Egypt has also signalled its rejection of Gaza residents being forced south across the border.
“From the beginning, we emphasised the continued opening of the Rafah crossing to provide humanitarian aid, and the crossing will remain open until we meet the urgent humanitarian needs of Gaza Strip,” Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said in a press conference with his Lithuanian counterpart.
Calls for aid to Gaza have multiplied, including from United Nations chief Antonio Guterres, who spoke with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi on Wednesday.
Israel has imposed a “complete siege” on the Gaza Strip, cutting off water, food, electricity and other essential supplies after Hamas’s assault.
United Nations human rights chief Volker Turk said the siege was “prohibited” under international humanitarian law.
Six days of relentless bombardment of Gaza have left the tiny territory in tatters, with residential buildings, mosques, factories and schools all hit.
The UN says over 338,000 people have been forced to flee their homes.
Gaza’s only power plant shut down Wednesday after running out of fuel, according to the Palestinian enclave’s electricity authority.
Between Monday and Tuesday, Israel launched three air strikes on the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing, which has been closed since.
Gaza is one of the most densely populated places on the planet, with 2.4 million people — half of them children — living on a 362-square-kilometer (140-square-mile) strip of land.

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