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Israel Announces Daily Pause In Southern Gaza Route To Allow Entry Of Aid

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The Israeli military has announced a daily “tactical pause of military activity” along a critical route in southern Gaza to facilitate the entry of more humanitarian aid. These pauses, starting Saturday, will take place from 08:00 to 19:00 local time and will continue until further notice.

This measure comes in response to pressure from international allies, including the United States, to alleviate the worsening humanitarian crisis in Gaza. The pause will only apply to a route leading north from the Kerem Shalom crossing to the Salah al-Din Road and onward to the European Hospital near Khan Younis.

Despite this humanitarian initiative, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) clarified that there will be no ceasefire in southern Gaza, particularly in Rafah, where combat operations will continue. The area has seen significant conflict, with Israeli troops entering Rafah over a month ago, leading to mass evacuations and the closure of the Rafah crossing with Egypt.

International agencies have repeatedly highlighted the dire situation in Gaza, with World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warning of “catastrophic hunger and famine-like conditions.” Aid deliveries have been significantly below pre-war levels, with the number of trucks entering Gaza dropping from around 500 per day to far fewer.

The IDF reported that eight Israeli soldiers were killed in an explosion in Rafah on Saturday, marking the deadliest incident for the Israeli army since January. The armed wing of Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack, stating they ambushed an armoured vehicle.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reiterated Israel’s commitment to its military objectives, which include the elimination of Hamas’ capabilities, the return of hostages, and ensuring Gaza no longer poses a threat to Israel.

Meanwhile, aid distribution in Gaza faces numerous challenges, with agencies like UNICEF reporting difficulties despite having necessary documentation. The conflict, which began on October 7 with a Hamas attack on Israel, has resulted in significant casualties and displacement on both sides.

Negotiations for a potential ceasefire and hostage release are ongoing, with Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant set to visit Washington for talks. A US-backed plan to increase humanitarian assistance for Gaza remains under discussion, with Hamas yet to fully accept the proposal.

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