UN humanitarian chief heading to Mideast for Gaza aid negotiations

GENEVA: The UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths said he would be heading to the Middle East on Tuesday to try to help negotiate aid access to the Gaza Strip.

In a video statement, Griffiths said he was hoping to hear some "good news" later Monday on aid access into the blockaded and besieged Palestinian enclave via the Rafah border crossing with Egypt.

"We need access for aid. We are in deep discussions with the Israelis, with the Egyptians and with others," Griffiths said, a process which had been "hugely helped" by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in his visit to countries in the region.

"I'm hoping to hear some good news this morning about getting aid through Rafah, one of the crossing points but an important one, into Gaza to help those million people who have moved south as well as those who live there already."

The Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza is the only passage in and out of the coastal enclave not controlled by Israel.

It has been closed since Tuesday after three Israeli strikes in less than 24 hours, which damaged the terminal on the Palestinian side.

"I shall be going myself tomorrow to the region to try to help in the negotiations, to try to bear witness and to express solidarity with the extraordinary courage of the many thousands of aid workers who have stayed the course and who are still there helping the people in Gaza and in the West Bank," Griffiths said. -- AFP

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