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Israel opens Gaza Strip's Erez crossing to trucks for first time since Oct. 7 attacks

Crossing site was damaged by Hamas during invasion of southern Israeli communities

Israeli soldiers secure humanitarian aid, amid the ongoing conflict in Gaza between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, near the Erez Crossing point in northern Gaza, May 1, 2024. (Photo: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)

Israel reopened the Erez border crossing into the northern Gaza Strip on Wednesday for the first time since it was damaged during the Oct.7 Hamas attacks. 

The Erez Crossing is the sole entry point into the northern part of Gaza, a zone where both the United States and the United Nations have claimed that a lack of aid is leading to conditions of starvation among the civilian population.

International aid agencies have been asking Israel to open the Erez Crossing for several months to increase the flow of humanitarian aid into the northern Strip. Last month, the U.S. special envoy for humanitarian issues warned that the risk of famine in the northern Gaza Strip continues to be very high. 

Before the war, the Erez Crossing predominantly catered to pedestrian traffic, where Palestinian workers from Gaza would commute to Israel for employment, along with international aid workers and journalists. Larger vehicles, such as trucks transporting supplies, typically used the Kerem Shalom Crossing located at the southern tip of the Strip.

During the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks, Hamas targeted the Erez Crossing with mortar fire, damaging the terminal. Israel began reconstruction work several months ago, including engineering work to expand the crossing to accommodate larger vehicles. 

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited the Kerem Shalom Crossing on Wednesday, where Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced the re-opening of the Erez Crossing. 

“I just finished a productive visit with Secretary of State Antony Blinken, here in Kerem Shalom,” Gallant said.

“We discussed how are we going to expand the flow of humanitarian support into Gaza. We decided to open today the ‘Erez’ crossing on the northern side of Gaza, and to allow ships to offload humanitarian supplies in Ashdod and to be able to move directly to the northern side of Gaza, in order to bring water, humanitarian supplies, medicine and food. We are taking significant measures in order to increase the volume of humanitarian aid into Gaza. This is essential.” 

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken visits Kerem Shalom border crossing with Gaza along with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant (Photo: Ariel Hermoni/IMoD)

Gallant continued: “We are fighting Hamas, a brutal terrorist organization. We are not fighting the civilians in Gaza, and we will facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid.” 

On Wednesday, the IDF announced that 31 trucks carrying food and medical supplies from the Republic of Jordan had crossed through the newly reopened Erez Crossing. Jordan has also participated in humanitarian aid airdrops, in cooperation with the Israeli army.

The Jordanian Foreign Ministry claimed that a group of “settlers” attacked the aid convoy on the way to the Gaza Strip. 

"Two Jordanian aid convoys carrying food, flour and other humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip were attacked by settlers," the ministry said without providing further details. 

One of the convoys went through the Erez Crossing, while the second drove through the Kerem Shalom Crossing.  

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

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