First shipment of Turkish humanitarian aid reaches Gaza

Turkey's first shipment of humanitarian aid bound for the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip reached its destination on Monday, officials said.

Turkish Consul General in Jerusalem Mustafa Sarnic, who arrived in Gaza on Monday, said that the Gaza-bound Turkish container vessel Lady Leyla, carrying food, clothes, shoes and toys, was "the first step on the path to lifting the blockade imposed on Gaza."

According to a reconciliation agreement signed in Rome in June, Israel is allowing Turkish humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip, which had been under a tight Israeli blockade since 2007.

Turkey will be allowed to send aid to the coastal enclave and cooperate with other countries on development, establishing a power station, a water desalination station and a large hospital.

"This shipment is the start and we will go ahead towards lifting the blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip," Sarnic said at the Rafah border crossing point between the southern Gaza Strip and Egypt.

Turkey "will exert all efforts to help the populations of Gaza and provide them with all needed services," he said, adding that his country would work to "end the crises of water and electricity" in the area.

Meanwhile, Yousef Ibrahim, deputy minister of Palestinian social welfare, run by the Hamas movement, said 10 trucks delivering aid to poor people were allowed into the Gaza Strip on Monday.

"400 trucks carrying 11,000 tons of humanitarian aid brought from Turkey will be gradually allowed in the Gaza Strip," Ibrahim said.

Ties with Turkey had been ruptured in 2010 when Israeli naval commandos raided a pro-Palestinian flotilla as it headed to breach the Israeli naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Last update: Mon, 04/07/2016 - 20:39

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