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After call with Biden, Egypt’s President el-Sisi agrees to send humanitarian aid via Israel, discusses opening Rafah

US-built Gaza pier suffers minor damage during heavy sea conditions

Humanitarian aid entering Gaza from Israel's Kerem Shalom border crossing (Photo: IDF)

Egypt agreed to resume sending aid to Gaza using Israel's Kerem Shalom border crossing following a phone call between U.S. President Joe Biden and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi on Friday.

During the phone call, Biden urged el-Sisi to resume aid shipments, and stated that the decision “will help save lives.” 

Egypt had previously halted aid shipments to Gaza in protest of Israel's capture of the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt. Egypt claimed that the seizure violated agreements between Egypt and Israel.

A few days after the Rafah crossing was captured by the IDF, Israel announced that it had discovered at least 50 tunnels crossing under the border from Rafah into Egypt used for smuggling supplies, and possibly weapons and people. 

Egypt had previously refused to allow humanitarian aid to be transferred through Israel, arguing that such a move would be seen as collaborating with Israel’s military incursion into Rafah, which Egypt had strongly opposed.

During the call, the Egyptian leader agreed to resume aid via Israel until an agreement could be reached with regarding the opening of the Rafah border crossing. 

In the phone call, Biden thanked Sisi “for his efforts from the beginning of the crisis to ensure the continuous flow of assistance from Egypt into Gaza.” 

On Sunday morning, Egypt's state-owned Al-Qahera TV aired video footage showing what it said were trucks entering Gaza through the Kerem Shalom crossing. 

Khaled Zayed, head of the Egyptian Red Crescent in the Sinai Peninsula, which is responsible for overseeing aid from Egypt into Gaza, told the Associated Press that 200 aid trucks and four fuel trucks were expected to reach Gaza on Sunday via the Kerem Shalom crossing. 

The IDF said that aid to Gaza through the Kerem Shalom crossing has increased since its reopening. The crossing was temporarily closed after it was attacked by Hamas at the beginning of the month with rocket and mortar fire. 

The IDF also said that the U.S.-built pier had facilitated the transfer of 127 trucks of food aid to various logistics centers belonging to international aid organizations since its opening earlier this month.

The pier suffered some storm damage over the weekend as two supporting vessels that were tied to the pier broke off in heavy seas and washed ashore on Israeli beaches. 

On Wednesday, U.S National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan acknowledged that humanitarian aid being transferred at the pier “is not flowing at the rate that any of us would be happy with.” He also stated that the U.S. is making efforts to put “necessary security arrangements in place” to prevent looting. 

The United States reportedly test-fired a defense system intended to protect the pier from Hamas attacks.

“Defensive systems protecting the pier were briefly test-fired on May 17 to ensure full functionality,” a U.S. Department of Defense spokesperson said.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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