Israel says will allow 'temporary' aid through Erez north Gaza border

Israel says will allow 'temporary' aid through Erez north Gaza border
Benjamin Netanyahu's office said Israel 'will allow the temporary delivery of humanitarian aid' through Ashdod port and the Erez crossing with north Gaza.
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Erez is a crossing between Israel and the northern Gaza Strip [Amador Guallar/NurPhoto/Corbis/Getty-archive]

Israel will allow "temporary" aid deliveries via its border with the northern Gaza Strip, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office announced on Friday, hours after a warning from US President Joe Biden.

"Israel will allow the temporary delivery of humanitarian aid through Ashdod and the Erez checkpoint," the statement from the prime minister's office said, referring to a port about 25 miles (40 kilometres) north of Gaza and a land crossing.

"This increased aid will prevent a humanitarian crisis and is necessary to ensure the continuation of the fighting and to achieve the goals of the war," it added.

The announcement comes as international pressure mounts on Tel Aviv after an Israeli strike killed seven employees of US-based charity World Central Kitchen.

In a tense, 30-minute call with Netanyahu on Thursday, Biden described the Israeli strike as "unacceptable and called for an "immediate ceasefire".

He also "made clear that US policy" will be determined by Israel taking "specific, concrete, and measurable steps to address civilian harm, humanitarian suffering, and the safety of aid workers", according to a White House statement.

Directly after Israel's announcement, the White House welcomed the moves to "increase aid flow to Gaza", and called for them to be "fully and rapidly implemented".

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The 17-year Israeli blockade of Gaza has been tightened since the start of the war, with the United Nations accusing Israel of preventing humanitarian aid deliveries and warning of "catastrophic" levels of hunger.

Israel has denied throttling aid deliveries.

Israel's war on Gaza has so far killed more than 33,000 people, mostly women and children, according to the enclave's health ministry.

A Hamas-led attack on 7 October resulted in the deaths of 1,170 Israelis and foreigners, most of them civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.

According to Friday's statement, the Israeli authorities will also allow "increased Jordanian aid through Kerem Shalom", a border crossing between southern Gaza and Israel known in Arabic as Karm Abu Salem.