First aid ship from Cyprus arrives in Gaza; Hamas puts forth new ceasefire proposal

Israel seems to be downplaying the truce prospects

Israel Gaza truce proposal A ship carrying aid sails off the shore of Gaza, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, as seen from central Gaza Strip | Reuters

Amid intensifying Israel-Hamas war, a ship carrying 200 tonnes of aid from Cyrus reached the coast of Gaza on Friday in order to bring more assistance to the humanitarian crisis in the enclave.

The ship, manned by the Spanish aid group Open Arms, left Cyprus on Tuesday. The food in the ship was sent by World Central Kitchen, the charity founded by celebrity chef Jos Andrs.

Facing severe humanitarian crisis, Gazans are reeling under starvation and outbreak of severe illnesses. Many countries including the United States started airdropping supplies to the isolated region of northern Gaza.

The aid groups said the airdrops and sea shipments were far less efficient ways of delivering the massive amounts of aid to Gazans. The groups have called on Israel to guarantee safe corridors for truck convoys after land deliveries became nearly impossible because of military restrictions.

Despite Israel's evacuation orders, nearly 3,00,000 Palestinians are believed to be still in northern Gaza.

A second aid ship is being readied to supply more aid to Gaza through the route, said Cyprus' Foreign Minister Constantinos Kombos.

Israel denies attack on aid distribution point

Israel denies Gaza Health Ministry's claim that it targeted an aid distribution point that claimed 20 lives and wounded 155 others.

"Approximately one hour before the arrival of the convoy to the humanitarian corridor, armed Palestinians opened fire while Gazan civilians were awaiting the arrival of the aid convoy," said a statement by Israeli Defence Forces (IDF).

The violence occurred late Thursday near the Kuwaiti Roundabout, which has been a distribution point of aid in north Gaza over the past weeks. The health ministry said a group waiting there for aid was hit by Israeli shelling.

Also, it seems the truce proposal for Gaza has hit a stonewall. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has downplayed the chances of truce in Gaza after Hamas gave its 'comprehensive vision' to mediators.

According to Netanyahu's office, Hamas was still "holding to unrealistic demands".

In the detailed plan proposed by Hamas includes initial release of Israeli women, children, elderly and ill hostages in return for the release of 700-1,000 Palestinians in Israeli prisons.


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