Antony Blinken calls humanitarian situation for people in Gaza ‘dire’

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PRAGUE (Czech Republic) : US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has called the humanitarian situation in Gaza “dire” and added that the distribution of aid within Gaza is not working properly. He stated that trucks entering Gaza have increased “significantly.”

Speaking to reporters in Prague, Blinken noted that there have been positive changes, including the opening of the crossings in the north. However, he added that the distribution of aid is not working effectively.

Responding to a question about the humanitarian situation in Gaza, Blinken said, “The humanitarian situation remains dire for people in Gaza. We’ve seen changes, some positive changes, but the net effect is not there. The positive changes are that, of course, crossings in the north have been opened recently, including the…. We have a route from Jordan that is getting the trucks in. If you look at trucks that are getting into Gaza and going in, it is up “significantly.”

“But, distribution (of aid) within Gaza is not working effectively, and part of the reason for that are the combat operations in the south. In addition, (the) Rafah gate continues to be closed,” he added.

He stated that US President Joe Biden secured an agreement with Egypt and Israel to ensure that goods could enter through Kerem Shalom. However, he added that Rafah remains closed and termed it a “real problem.”

Blinken said, “President Biden secured an agreement with Egypt and with Israel to make sure that goods could go through Kerem Shalom, including goods coming from Egypt. But Rafah remains closed and that’s a real problem. So the focus that we have, continue to have and are working on intensely every day, is again making sure that we’re not just measuring inputs, we’re measuring impact.”

“And yes, the impact remains insufficient in terms of addressing the acute needs of children, women and men in Gaza. But, its a moving story every day as we are working intensely to make sure that different access points are working and then distribution within Gaza is working more effectively. That is what we are focused on,” he added.

Meanwhile, the United Nations experts have issued a call for “decisive international action” and called for immediate sanctions and an arms embargo against Israel.

At least 45 people were killed and 200 others were injured after the Israeli strike hit a camp for displaced people, CNN reported, according to the government media office in Gaza.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday called the country’s strike on a displacement camp in Rafah a “tragic mistake.” He said that Israel is carrying out investigation into the incident, CNN reported.

Shortly after the attack, the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) announced that two senior Hamas officials had been killed after targeting a Hamas compound. The Israeli attack followed Hamas’ first rocket attack on the Israeli city of Tel Aviv in months. The group of experts called for an independent probe into the attack on Rafah.

The UN Special Procedures took to X, and stated, “UN experts outraged by #Israeli strikes on civilians sheltering in #Rafah camps, demand int’l investigation, sanctions & arms embargo. “Calling the strikes a ‘mistake’ do not make them legal, bring back those killed or give comfort to grieving survivors.”

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights issued a statement, stressing that these “barbaric attacks are a flagrant violation of international law”.

“Harrowing images of destruction, displacement and death have emerged from Rafah, including infants torn apart and people burnt alive,” the experts said.

The statement reads, “Reports emerging from the ground indicate that the strikes were indiscriminate and disproportionate, with people trapped inside burning plastic tents, leading to a horrific casualty toll.”

They further expressed deep frustration at the international community’s failure to stop Israel’s assault on Gaza. They demanded an independent international investigation into the attacks on the Rafah displacement camps.

“Those responsible for these atrocities must be held to account,” the experts said.”The flow of arms into Israel must stop immediately. It is abundantly clear that these weapons are being used to brutally kill and maim Palestinian civilians,” the UN experts said.

Moreover, they also demanded unimpeded humanitarian access to Gaza and an end to the blockade and restrictions on the delivery of life-saving aid to civilians in the region. (ANI)

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