US troops depart to build floating pier off Gaza, as ceasefire deal remains far off

US troops depart to build floating pier off Gaza, as ceasefire deal remains far off
Washington's plan to build a temporary port for aid deliveries to war-torn Gaza set sail on Tuesday as army vessels and soldiers left the US coast
21 min read
12 March, 2024

This live blog on Day 158 of Israel's war on Gaza has concluded. Make sure to follow us for the latest news on FacebookX, and Instagram.

Four US Army vessels left a military base in the state of Virginia on Tuesday with 100 soldiers and equipment to build a temporary port in Gaza for aid deliveries as announced by President Joe Biden last week.

US Army Brigadier General Brad Hinson said the pier would allow the offloading of aid from larger to smaller vessels and create a long pier to bring it to shore. It is expected to take 60 days to build, despite concerns from aid agencies that people in Gaza cannot wait that long.

A charity ship left Cyprus earlier on Tuesday loaded with food for Gaza in the first mission of its kind to bring supplies to the war-torn enclave.

Meanwhile, Israel and Lebanon's Hezbollah group intensified strikes throughout Tuesday with Israeli jets shelling two locations deeper into east Lebanon and away from the frontier, sparking concern of an all-out war between the two warring factions.

Ceasefire negotiations continue in Gaza and Doha as Qatar's Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson said that as a mediator Qatar was pushing both sides to agree.

The latest death toll on the 158th day of the war stands at 31,184 killed and more than 72,889 injured since the war began in October.

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2 Palestinians shot dead by Israeli army in Al-Jib
10:18 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

At least two other Palestinians were killed and three others injured late on Tuesday after being shot by Israeli forces at a checkpoint in the town of Al-Jib, west of Jerusalem, the Palestinian Red Crescent said.

EU urges Israel not to launch Rafah ground operation
9:46 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

European Union leaders plan to urge Israel not to launch a ground operation in Rafah, according to draft conclusions of an upcoming summit.

"The European Council urges the Israeli government to refrain from a ground operation in Rafah, where well over a million Palestinians are currently seeking safety from the fighting and access to humanitarian assistance," according to a draft text of conclusions of a summit seen by Reuters.

The text will require the approval of all the EU's 27 national leaders to be adopted at the summit on March 21 and 22.

Netanyahu says he will press forward with Rafah offensive
9:45 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday that Israel would press forward with its military campaign into Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, amid rising international pressure.

"We will finish the job in Rafah while enabling the civilian population to get out of harm's way," Netanyahu said in a video address to a conference of the pro-Israel AIPAC organization in Washington, D.C.

Morocco inaugurates land route for Gaza aid
9:25 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Morocco has sent 40 tonnes of humanitarian supplies for Gaza via an Israeli airport, a diplomatic source said Tuesday.

The food aid has arrived at Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv before being transferred to the Palestinian Red Crescent at the Kerem Shalom crossing between Israel and Gaza, the Moroccan diplomatic source told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Rabat's foreign ministry said in a statement that "Morocco is the first country to transport its humanitarian aid via this unprecedented land route".

Israeli army shoots dead Palestinian teen near Jerusalem
8:16 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A 13-year-old Palestinian boy from a refugee camp on the outskirts of Jerusalem was shot dead by Israeli forces on Tuesday, Palestinian health officials said.

The Israeli police did not confirm the death but claimed violent riots broke out in the camp for the second consecutive night and that during the unrest, a single shot was fired by an officer towards a suspect "who endangered the forces while firing aerial fireworks in their direction."

The Palestinian Red Crescent said it treated five wounded by Israeli fire.

US asks Hamas to release women, elderly for longer ceasefire
7:54 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The White House on Tuesday urged Hamas in Gaza to release women, elderly and wounded hostages and accept a temporary ceasefire in the fighting with Israel in order to secure a more lasting one.

"A ceasefire is on the table today, for six weeks to be built on into something more enduring if Hamas would simply release women, wounded and elderly," White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters

"We're determined to try to generate a ceasefire where at least six weeks with the hostages coming out and then try to build on that into something more enduring, but I can't make any predictions about where this will lie," Sullivan said.

Erdogan calls for pressure on Israel to allow aid into Gaza
7:50 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday called for increased international pressure on Israel to ensure more humanitarian aid is allowed into Gaza, and said Ankara will increase its support during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Speaking at a fast-breaking dinner during Ramadan with foreign ambassadors in Ankara, Erdogan criticised Western countries for backing Israel, saying they had given Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the opportunity to carry out "savage attacks" on the enclave due to their "indecisive stance".

"No matter what the Israeli leadership does, it cannot hide the reality that it is a murdering, cruel, criminal, lying, and fascist (government)," Erdogan said, adding remarks calling for calm were meaningless while support for Israel continued.

"We all know very well that as long as attacks on Gaza and the siege continues, the amount of aid is not enough. The most urgent need is for the number of trucks passing the Rafah gate to be increased. Of course, pressure needs to be put on Israel for this," he added, referring to Egypt's border crossing with Gaza.

Gaza war kills more children than 4 years of global conflict
7:47 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

More children have been reported killed in the war raging in Gaza than in four years of conflict around the world, the head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees said Tuesday.

His post referenced United Nations numbers showing that 12,193 children had been killed in conflicts worldwide between 2019 and 2022.

It compared that to reports from the health ministry in Gaza indicating that more than 12,300 children died in the Palestinian territory between last October and the end of February.

"This war is a war on children. It is a war on their childhood and their future," Lazzarini said.

EU's Borrell says hunger being used as 'war arm' in Gaza
7:02 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell criticized the lack of aid entering Gaza as a "manmade" disaster on Tuesday, telling the UN Security Council that hunger was being used as a "war arm."

"This humanitarian crisis... is not a natural disaster, is not a flood, is not an earthquake, it is manmade," said Borrell at UN headquarters in New York.

"When we look for alternative ways of providing support, by sea or by air, we have to remind that we have to do it because the natural way of providing support through roads is being closed, artificially closed," said Borrell.

"Starvation is being used as a war arm," he said, adding that "when we condemn this happening in Ukraine, we have to use the same words of what's happening in Gaza."

Body of Israel soldier killed on Oct. 7 held in Gaza: army
6:58 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Israeli military said Tuesday a soldier believed to be held in Gaza had been killed during Hamas' October 7 attack and his body taken to the Palestinian territory.

The military said in a statement that Sergeant Itay Hen, 19, "fell on October 7 and was then kidnapped" to the Gaza Strip by Hamas fighters.

The soldier, a dual Israeli-US national whose surname is also spelled Chen, was about one year into his military service in the Israeli Armoured Corps when his base near the Gaza border was attacked, his father, Ruby Chen, told reporters in October.

US military says it conducted aid airdrop into Gaza Tuesday
6:55 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

U.S. military officials said on Tuesday that American forces had conducted a humanitarian assistance airdrop into northern Gaza on Tuesday along with Jordan's air force.

CIA Director Burns says 'still a possibility' of Gaza deal
5:45 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US Central Intelligence Agency director William Burns said on Tuesday there was "still a possibility" of a Gaza ceasefire deal, although many complicated issues remain.

"I think there's still the possibility of such a deal. And as I said, it won't be for lack of trying on our part, working very closely with our Israeli, Qatari, and Egyptian counterparts. This is a very tough process. I don’t think anyone can guarantee success. The only thing I think you can guarantee is that the alternatives are worse," he told a House of Representatives hearing.

Ceasefire talks between Israel and Hamas have been stalled for weeks as the two warring parties lay out differing demands. American, Qatari and Egyptian mediators had hoped that a deal would be reached before the start of Ramadan yesterday.

Netanyahu vows to destroy 'Hamas battalions' in Rafah
5:30 PM
The New Arab

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed "total victory" against Hamas saying that his country's "very survival is at stake" as he addressed a conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee known as AIPAC on Tuesday.

"To win this war, we must destroy the remaining Hamas battalions in Rafah. If not, Hamas will regroup, rearm and reconquer Gaza and then we're back to square one. And that's an intolerable threat that we cannot accept," the Israeli premier said.

He also rebuked the growing international calls to row back his offensive in Gaza, which has killed over 31,000 Palestinians and destroyed swathes of the enclave.

"I want to assure you, none of these pressures will stop us. Israel's very future, its very survival is at stake. We have no other option but total victory and that victory is in and within reach."

Maritime corridor to Gaza no substitute for land delivery
5:15 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Senior United Nations officials on Tuesday welcomed the opening of a maritime corridor from Cyprus to deliver additional aid to the Gaza Strip, but said it could not replace the delivery of humanitarian assistance by land.

"For aid delivery at scale, there is no meaningful substitute to the many land routes and entry points from Israel into Gaza. The land routes from Egypt, Rafah in particular, and Jordan also remain essential to the overall humanitarian effort," said UN Humanitarian and Reconstruction Coordinator for Gaza Sigrid Kaag and UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS) Executive Director Jorge Moreira da Silva.

"The maritime corridor brings, however, much needed additionality and is part of a sustained humanitarian response to provide aid as effectively as possible through all possible routes," they said.

US troops depart for mission to build Gaza aid port
4:45 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Four US Army vessels departed a base in Virginia on Tuesday carrying about 100 soldiers and equipment they will need to build a temporary port on Gaza's coast for urgently needed aid deliveries.

The first -- a hulking grey-painted watercraft known as a Logistics Support Vessel -- slowly churned away from the pier at Joint Base Langley-Eustis as "The Imperial March" from "Star Wars" played over its loudspeaker system.

It was followed by three smaller vessels that will also make the roughly 30-day trip to the eastern Mediterranean for the port mission -- part of US efforts to boost assistance for Gaza as Israel delays deliveries of aid by ground.

The new facility -- which will consist of an offshore platform for trans-shipment of aid from larger to smaller vessels and a pier to bring it ashore -- is expected to be up and running "at the 60-day mark," US Army Brigadier General Brad Hinson told journalists.

Read about what the floating pier might look like in The New Arab's explainer here.

Blinken calls for six-week ceasefire in Ramadan message
4:20 PM
The New Arab

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken called for a ceasefire of at least six weeks in his official message to mark the start of the holy month of Ramadan.

"The humanitarian situation in Gaza is heart breaking," Blinken said.

"As we deliver additional aid to Gaza, we will continue to work non-stop to establish an immediate and sustained ceasefire for at least six weeks as part of a deal that releases hostages."

Ceasefire talks between Israel and Hamas have been stalled for weeks as American, Egyptian and Qatari mediators scramble to unpick sticking points around releasing a list of the remaining hostages and a full withdrawal of Israel's military from Gaza.

Bands boycott US music festival over Gaza war
4:00 PM
The New Arab Staff

International bands and artists have pulled out of Texas music festival South by Southwest (SXSW) to protest Israel's war on Gaza due to the US military's sponsorship of the eight-day annual event.

The latest act to pull out is Belfast band Kneecap, who said on X that their decision to cancel their three shows is done "in solidarity with the people of Palestine". 

The band highlighted the links the festival has with arms firms and the US military who are "enabling genocide and famine against a trapped population".

Read more in The New Arab's report here.

Jordanian national killed in West Bank: Palestinian FM
3:30 PM
The New Arab

The Palestinian foreign ministry condemned the death of a Jordanian national shot by Israeli forces near Tulkarm in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday.

Jordanian national of Palestinian origin Tawfiq Aed Fawaz Hussein, 25 was visiting relatives in the Nur Shams camp when he was shot by Israeli special forces who fired on Hussein and another man, severely injuring the pair who were rushed to hospital.

Palestinian news agency Wafa reported that ambulances were blocked from reaching the injured men which led to Hussein's death.

"The ministry considers the crimes of continuous field executions and brutal incursions into Palestinian areas are an official Israeli attempt to ignite more fires in the conflict area", the ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

Israel plans to imprison more Palestinians
3:10 PM
Qassam Muaddi

Israeli jails are planning to receive thousands of Palestinian detainees during 2024, Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu said on Monday, according to Israeli media.

During a meeting with representatives from the Israeli ministries of defence and national security, the Israeli army and intelligence presented estimates that thousands of Palestinians would be arrested despite the lack of space in Israeli jails.

Read more of The New Arab's report from our West Bank correspondent here.

Iraqi militias claim targeting of Israel's airport
2:45 PM
Dana Taib Menmy

For the first time since Israel's war on Gaza, Iraqi militia groups aligned with Iran have claimed they have targeted Israel's Ben Gurion Airport with a suicide drone late on Monday night. 

The Iraqi militia groups aligned with Iran and regulated under the Islamic Resistance in Iraq claimed responsibility for targeting the airport, marking the group's second operation towards Israeli territory in less than a week.

Iraqi security sources suggest that the drone reported by Jordanian authorities to have crashed in the province of Irbid last night is likely the same one used to strike Ben Gurion Airport.

Read more of The New Arab's report here.

Around 4,500 Hezbollah targets hit over past five months
2:15 PM
The New Arab

The Israeli army has struck around 4,500 Hezbollah targets and killed more than 300 soldiers since fighting broke out in October, the military's Arabic spokesperson said on Tuesday.

Avichay Adraee said that Israel's air forces have hit "more than 1,200 air targets and more than 3,100 ground targets belonging to Hezbollah" on Lebanese and Syrian territory.

Some of the infrastructure include military warehouses and facilities, Adraee said. 

Cross border fighting between Iran-aligned Hezbollah and Israel - which had been contained to the border zones - has spilled deeper into Lebanese territory in recent days.

Children in Gaza facing 'relentless mental harm': charity
1:45 PM
The New Arab

The impact of Israel's deadly monthslong Gaza onslaught is leaving children with severe mental damage, a leading children's charity said in new report on Tuesday.

Save the Children spoke to families in the occupied territory who reported high levels of anxiety and distress among children, with many unable to see a future without war.

The charity noted that the deterioration in mental wellbeing is "much worse than during previous escalations in violence" and included issues such as fear, anxiety, disordered eating, sleep problems and behaviour changes related to attachment style with parents.

"The emotional distress of dodging bombs and bullets, losing loved ones, being forced to flee through streets littered with debris and corpses, and waking up every morning not knowing if they will be able to eat has also left parents and caregivers increasingly unable to cope," the charity said.

Morocco joins Gaza aid airdrop
1:20 PM
Basma El Atti

Morocco has joined international efforts to airdrop aid to the Gaza Strip; however, local pro-Palestine groups are far from satisfied.

On Monday, Rabat reportedly sent six military planes carrying aid materials to Gaza, set to be airdropped on the besieged strip, where a manufactured famine has killed at least 27 Palestinians while Israel continues indiscriminate bombings on the city.

"Moroccan leadership requested the government in Israel to send humanitarian aid planes, and the latter responded positively to Rabat's request," said a source from the Israeli foreign ministry quoted by the local media Hespress.

Israeli jets strike two targets in Lebanon's Bekaa region
12:45 PM
The New Arab Staff

The Israeli army said on Tuesday it struck two military headquarters of Hezbollah in the Baalbek region of Lebanon, in a response to Hezbollah's 100-missile attack earlier today.

One person was reportedly killed and six injured in the strike on a plastic factory near Baalbek city, according to Lebanon's L'Orient Today newspaper. The second attack injured one person in the village of Nabi Sheet in Baalbek.

Hamas ally Hezbollah attacked Israeli army targets in the occupied Golan Heights with a 100 missile salvo, the group said. No injuries were reported in the assaults.

NGO collective to sue Danish state over Israel arms sales
12:30 PM
The New Arab

A group of international human rights organization have begun a process to sue Denmark’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Danish National Police over sales of military parts to Israel during its Gaza war.

One of the groups Palestinian human rights organization Al-Haq said: “There is a clear risk that weapons and military equipment that Denmark directly and indirectly exports to Israel will be used to commit serious crimes against civilians in Gaza”.

“In doing so, Denmark violates international rules on arms trade and risks becoming complicit in violations of international humanitarian law - including war crimes – and a plausible genocide,” it said in a statement on Tuesday.

According to Danish investigative outlet Danwatch, Israel’s F-35 jets contain ‘pylons’ used to position missiles which are manufactured by Danish defence company Terma.

UNWRA: 'no international will' to ensure aid reaches Gaza
12:00 PM
The New Arab

The spokesperson for the United Nations Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA said that there is "no international will" to ensure the unobstructed entry of aid into Gaza.

Kazem Abu Khalef said: "The path to enter Gaza is clear, but there is no international will to bring it in by land". 

"There is no international will to enforce the entry of humanitarian aid into Gaza," he added.

In comments carried by Al Jazeera Arabic network, Abu Khalef said that the situation in the war-torn strip is "tragic and painful".

For months aid agencies have called on the international community to pressure Israel to open further land crossings as the whole population faces disease and hunger.

Israeli airstrikes hit locations across Gaza
11:45 AM
The New Arab

Dozens of civilians were reportedly killed and injured by airstrikes in the neighbourhoods of al-Zeitoun and Tal al-Hawa in Gaza City on Tuesday. Houses in Jabalia refugee camp were also hit by shelling, according to Palestinian news agency Wafa.

Deir al Balah in central Gaza, where many families have fled to when Rafah came under attack, was hit again by strikes, damaging homes and buildings.

Meanwhile, Hamas’ military wing Al-Qassam Brigades said that its fighters ambushed a number of Israeli troops in Hamad, north of Khan Younis, which has been the scene of intense battles over the past few days.

Rafah invasion could see US military aid conditioned
11:15 AM
The New Arab

An Israeli ground offensive into the southern Gaza city of Rafah without a 'credible plan' for the safety over the one million civilians sheltering there could see US military aid to Israel reviewed.

According to US officials cited by American media outlets Politico and Axios, there have been discussions over the weekend that if Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decides to invade Rafah it could see a shift in US policy towards one of its closest allies.

This might include an end to Washington's defence of Israel at the United Nations and restrictions on use of US weapons by the Israeli military in Gaza, Axios reported.

Netanyahu has been repeatedly warned by allies that he must present a plan to ensure the safety of Palestinians who have sought shelter in the area that was once designated a 'safe-zone' by the Israeli military.

72 killed and 129 people injured in past day in Gaza
11:00 AM
The New Arab

The latest death toll from Gaza's health ministry this morning reports that 72 people were killed and 129 injured over the past 24 hours from Israeli bombardment.

The health ministry noted that a number of victims remain inaccessible, submerged under rubble and hard for emergency crews to reach because of widespread damage to streets and roads.

The total toll stands at 31,184 deaths and 72,889 wounded since war broke out on October 7.


UK deploys warship to Red Sea to protect shipping
10:40 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Britain will deploy its HMS Diamond warship to the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden to take over from HMS Richmond in defending commercial shipping in the region, the government said on Tuesday.

"Britain continues to be at the forefront of the international response to the Houthis' dangerous attacks on commercial vessels, which have claimed the lives of international mariners," Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said in a statement. 

'Not near' to Israel-Hamas ceasefire deal, Qatar says
10:20 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Qatar's foreign ministry said that negotiations continue over a ceasefire deal between Israel and Hamas but that the "situation on the ground is complicated".

Hamas officials had been flying between Doha and Cairo in recent weeks in an urgent bid to hammer out a truce deal with Israel before the start of Ramadan yesterday, but the both parties are yet to agree to each other's demands, mediators have said.

In comments carried by Reuters Qatar's foreign ministry spokesperson said: "We are not near a ceasefire deal, but remain hopeful," adding that talks continue but with complications.

Sticking points include Hamas’ demand for Israel’s full military withdrawal while Israel is demanding a list of the remaining hostages still in Gaza – which Hamas said has become impossible due to dire conditions in the Strip.

The Qatari official added that they are working to establish a "permanent ceasefire" in Gaza and not a short-term truce, which had been suggested.

Civilians collecting aid attacked by Israeli military
10:00 AM
The New Arab

Reports have emerged that civilians gathering to collect aid from the Kuwait roundabout, an aid distribution point, in northern Gaza were confronted with open fire by the Israeli military.

Medics at Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City said that nine people were killed and 20 others wounded after they were shot at by Israeli forces while waiting for aid to arrive, according to Palestinian news agency Wafa.

It is not the first time Israeli forces have targeted people waiting for aid on the Salah al-Din road in north Gaza. Over 100 people were killed in an atrocity in February which sparked global outrage.

Hezbollah says it fired 100 missiles into Israel
9:45 AM
The New Arab

Lebanon's Hezbollah group said on Tuesday morning it fired 100 rockets at Israeli military positions in retaliation for the strike yesterday near Baalbek, deep inside Lebanese territory.

In a statement on Telegram, the Iran-backed group said "more than 100 Katyusha rockets" were scattered across Israeli military targets including Kilaa barracks and artillery bases in Givat Yoav. 

Late on Monday, Israeli jets hit a house in the town of Ansar in the Baalbek governorate which killed one and wounded six others, local media reported, as well as a second hit on warehouses.

Earlier on Tuesday, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah met with Khalil al-Hayya, a senior member of Hamas's political bureau.

Israel must change course in Gaza, says Australia
9:20 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong said on Tuesday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was undermining Israel with his approach to the war in Gaza and urged the country to change course or lose even more international support.

US President Biden said on Saturday that Netanyahu was "hurting Israel more than helping" by conducting the war in a way contrary to the country's values.

Asked about his comments on Tuesday, Wong agreed and said international support for Israel would continue to fray unless it addressed the "humanitarian catastrophe" in Gaza.

"October 7th was a terrorist attack and the world was rightly very sympathetic to and in solidarity with Israel at that time," Wong said at the Australian Financial Review Business Summit on Tuesday.

"I think the world is horrified with the current situation ... and I would say that unless Israel changes its course it will continue to lose support."

US hits targets in Yemen as Houthis vow to step up attacks
9:00 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US forces said they destroyed an underwater drone and nearly 20 ballistic missiles in a series of strikes against Yemen's Houthi group, who threatened on Tuesday to step up their attacks in the Red Sea during Ramadan.

The US Central Command said in a statement Monday night that the strikes were carried out after the Houthis fired two missiles towards a Singaporean-owned, Liberian-flagged merchant ship called the Pinocchio.

The Houthis claimed responsibility for the attack on the Pinocchio in a statement early Tuesday, maintaining the missile strike "was accurate".

Since November, the Iran-backed Houthis, who control the capital Sanaa, have been attacking ships in the Red Sea, in professed solidarity with Palestinians. 

Hezbollah and Israel exchange fire following Baalbek hit
8:45 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Israeli military said on Tuesday that around 100 projectiles have been launched from Lebanon into Israel, in some of the heaviest fire emanating from Israel’s northern neighbour since the start of the war in Gaza.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage following the strikes, which appeared to be in response to Israeli airstrikes which hit in the vicinity of Baalbek, 43 miles from the Israeli border late on Monday and killed at least one civilian.

The military said early Tuesday it struck sites belonging to the Lebanese Hezbollah’s aerial forces in retaliation for previous Hezbollah attacks.

Cyprus aid ship to Gaza 'first of many': charity
8:30 AM
The New Arab

Spanish charity Open Arms which orchestrated the ship that is bringing food supplies to Gaza said that its departure on Tuesday marks the opening of the new maritime corridor.

"The maritime humanitarian corridor to the Strip is opened, in a highly complex mission that we trust will be the first of many that will manage to alleviate the humanitarian emergency situation that the population is experiencing," the charity wrote on social media site X.

Cyprus President Nikos Christodoulides, who first presented the maritime corridor plan in November, said the corridor will be a "lifeline to civilians".