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More aid flights arrive in Egypt’s Sinai, awaiting passage to Gaza

More aid flights arrive in Egypt’s Sinai, awaiting passage to Gaza

CAIRO: New aid flights arrived in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula on Saturday where relief materials are being held until safe passage for their delivery into the nearby Gaza Strip can be secured, an official from the Red Crescent and an aid volunteer said.

Egypt says its side of the Rafah crossing that connects Sinai with the Gaza Strip remains open, though traffic has been halted for several days because of Israeli bombardments on the Palestinian side of the border.

Egyptian security forces have been reinforcing security on their side of the border, including by moving concrete barriers, but reports that they were sealing off the crossing were incorrect, one Egyptian security source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The crossing is the main exit point for the Gaza Strip’s 2.3 million residents that is not controlled by Israel. Israel and Egypt have upheld a blockade on the enclave, tightly controlling movement of goods and people, since Palestinian Islamist group Hamas took control there in 2007.

The Israeli military spokesperson said on Saturday that the border remains closed and any crossing to Egypt needed to be coordinated with Israel.

Two aid flights, including one from Turkey, arrived at Al Arish, about 45 km (28 miles) from the Gaza border, bringing the total number of planes that have arrived this week carrying humanitarian relief for Gaza to at least five, the Red Cross official and the aid volunteer said.