Egyptian and Cypriot foreign ministers renew calls for Gaza ceasefire

Israeli soldiers drive a tank near the Israeli-Gaza border, in southern Israell, Wednesday, June 5, 2024

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Gaza attack

Cypriot’s foreign minister said Tuesday that Israel’s offensive on Gaza’s southernmost city of Rafah was causing “potential irreversible and catastrophic consequences”.

In a joint news conference with his Egyptian counterpart in Cairo, Constantinos Kombos said the Israeli attack on Rafah needs to stop.

“There is an urgent need for an immediate ceasefire and the release of the hostages. This is imperative,” said Kombos.

Kombos said the operation of delivering humanitarian aid to Gaza through a U.S. military-built pier was a “very complicated operation involving detailed and demanding logistical support.”

Broken apart by strong winds and heavy seas just over a week after it became operational, the project faces criticism that it hasn’t lived up to its initial billing or its $320 million price tag.

U.S. officials say, however, that the steel causeway connected to the beach in Gaza and the floating pier are being repaired and reassembled at a port in southern Israel.

The aid for the sea route is collected and inspected in Cyprus, then loaded onto ships and taken about 200 miles (320 kilometers) to the large floating pier off the Gaza coast.

There, the pallets are transferred onto the trucks that then drive onto the Army boats, which will shuttle the trucks from the pier to a floating causeway anchored to the beach. Once the trucks drop off the aid, they return to the boats.

“This is not a substitute for the land crossings. We are all hoping, and we are supporting, the end of the conflict, the opening of the land crossings, all the land crossings,” said Kombos.

Egypt has decried Israel’s attack on Rafah and its seizure of Philadelphi Corridor, a strategic corridor along its border with Gaza.

Israel launched its war in Gaza after attacks by Hamas killed about 1,200 Israelis on Oct. 7.

More than 36,000 Palestinians have been killed since then, many of them women and children.

Fighting and Israeli restrictions on aid shipments through border crossings mean nearly all 2.3 million people in Gaza are facing severe hunger.

Additional sources • AP

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