Israel reopens a critical Gaza crossing for humanitarian aid

Israel has reopened the Kerem Shalom crossing in the Gaza Strip, the Israeli agency that oversees aid deliveries to the territory said on Wednesday, restoring one of two critical entry points for humanitarian aid that it had closed.

The Kerem Shalom crossing between Israel and Gaza has been closed since a Hamas rocket attack from Gaza on Sunday killed four soldiers in the area. The Israeli army staged a raid on Tuesday that closed the Rafah crossing on Gaza's border with Egypt.

Since the war began, most aid to Gaza has passed through the Rafah crossing. International aid agencies and officials had said Israel's closure of the two crossings could worsen the already dire humanitarian crisis.

On Wednesday, aid trucks were expected to arrive at the Kerem Shalom crossing and enter Gaza after inspection, Israeli news agency COGAT said.

When both crossings were closed, it was unclear how much aid was reaching Gaza through other routes. COGAT said on Tuesday that 60 trucks had passed through the Erez crossing in northern Gaza, which Israel reopened under pressure from the Biden administration after an Israeli airstrike killed seven aid workers.

In a phone call with President Biden on Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to ensure the reopening of the crossing, according to a White House summary of the call.

Israel opened the Kerem Shalom crossing in December after pressure from the United States to speed up the flow of humanitarian aid to Gaza. However, Israeli protesters have regularly gathered at the crossing, trying to block humanitarian convoys from entering the enclave, hoping to increase pressure on Hamas to release the hostages.

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