Israel opens aid crossing to Gaza while stepping up bombardment


Israel opened a direct crossing for aid into Gaza for the first time on Sunday in its more than two-month-old war on Hamas while also stepping up attacks on the Palestinian enclave, saying military pressure was the only way its hostages would be freed, Paralel.Az reports citing Reuters.

The Israeli attacks took place amid fierce fighting the length of the coastal strip, according to residents and militants, with communications down for a fourth day, making it hard to reach the wounded.

"The communication blackout in #Gaza is the longest since the start of the Israeli escalation," the Palestinian Red Crescent said on X, adding that its teams were also hampered by shelling. Telecommunications were gradually being restored in central and southern areas, telecoms companies said later.

Hopes for peace had been raised on Saturday when a source said Israel's spy chief had spoken on Friday with the prime minister of Qatar, which mediated hostage releases in return for a week-long ceasefire and the freeing of Palestinian prisoners.

In a further positive sign, the Kerem Shalom crossing between Israel and Gaza opened for aid trucks on Sunday for the first time since the outbreak of war, officials said, in a move to double the amount of food and medicine reaching Gazans.

But Israel cast doubt on whether the aid would be distributed, accusing aid officials of not distributing aid that had crossed from Egypt, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to "fight to the end". Aid agencies say aid distribution has been disrupted by the violence.

Hamas said it would not discuss freeing any more of those captured when its fighters raided southern Israel on Oct. 7 while Israel continues its attacks.