All cargo offloaded from first aid ship to reach devastated Gaza: NGO

All cargo offloaded from first aid ship to reach devastated Gaza: NGO
The humanitarian effort is intended to alleviate hunger levels in Gaza, where a famine is looming amid Israel's war and siege.
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A second cargo ship carrying humanitarian aid is expected to arrive in Gaza, though a date has yet to be specified [Getty/file photo]

A US charity said Saturday its team in the war-ravaged Gaza Strip had finished unloading the first maritime aid shipment to reach the besieged territory.

"All cargo was offloaded and is being readied for distribution in Gaza," World Central Kitchen said in a statement, noting that the aid was "almost 200 tonnes of food".

The group is preparing a second boat of 240 tonnes of food to set sail from Cyprus, the starting point of a new maritime aid route across the eastern Mediterranean.

The humanitarian effort is intended to mitigate food shortages that have prompted UN famine warnings in Gaza from the United Nations and aid workers.

"That shipment includes pallets of canned goods and bulk product including beans, carrots, canned tuna, chickpeas, canned corn, parboiled rice, flour, oil and salt," World Central Kitchen said.

The second shipment would also include a forklift and a crane to assist with deliveries, it added.

The humanitarian group said it had "no information to release on when our second boat and the crew ship will be able to embark."

The Israeli military on Friday confirmed the first vessel, operated by the Spanish charity Open Arms, had arrived and said soldiers had been deployed to conduct a security inspection.

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The Israelis also said the delivery of humanitarian aid by sea did not constitute a breach of the years-long blockade of Gaza, which has plunged the enclave into poverty.

World Central Kitchen had to build a jetty southwest of Gaza City to deliver the aid.

Israel's indiscriminate military campaign in the Gaza Strip has killed at least 31,553 people, mostly women and children, and its attacks on civilians have been likened to genocide. Israeli forces have massacred dozens of Gazans as they desperately tried to reach aid shipments.

Throughout the war, Israel has bombarded refugee camps, schools, hospitals and residential buildings, claiming hundreds of lives every day.

As cumbersome Israeli security checks and logistical hurdles slow overland aid delivery to Gaza, countries have pursued alternatives including airdrops and the new maritime corridor.

Jose Andres, founder of World Central Kitchen, said on social media platform X on Friday that the first shipment was "a test" and that "we could bring thousands of tonnes each week."