Egypt designates El-Arish airport as Gaza aid hub, denies Rafah border crossing closure

Merna Hesham , Thursday 12 Oct 2023

Egypt has designated North Sinai's El-Arish International Airport for receiving international humanitarian assistance to be delivered to Gaza, denying the closure of the Rafah border crossing.

A vehicle of the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) crosses from the Palestinian side to the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing in the southern Gaza Strip on June 12, 2023. AFP


Egypt has also called upon the international community willing to offer humanitarian aid to the Palestinians to route their aid to El-Arish International Airport, a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs read on Thursday.

The Egyptian initiative directly responds to the ongoing and severe Israeli bombardment of Gaza and aims to alleviate the suffering endured by Gazans, the ministry said.

El-Arish city, the capital of North Sinai, is located about 50km west of the Rafah border crossing, the only crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt.

Egypt denied rumours that the Rafah border crossing was closed, asserting that the crossing remains operational and has not been closed since the onset of the crisis, the foreign ministry said.

Nevertheless, the vital infrastructure of the Rafah crossing on the Palestinian side has suffered damage due to recurrent Israeli air strikes, disrupting its regular operation, according to the ministry.

Egypt has urged Israel to refrain from targeting the Palestinian side of the crossing to facilitate restoration and rehabilitation efforts, enabling it to serve as a vital conduit to support Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

The UN humanitarian office has reported that the Israeli bombardment of Gaza has levelled 1,000 homes since the retaliation for Hamas’ attack began on Saturday.

Since Monday, Israel has completely blockaded the Gaza Strip, blocking access to essential supplies like food, water, and electricity. This has exacerbated the already severe humanitarian crisis in the region. 

Egypt FM Shoukry talks with Europe


Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry reaffirmed the importance of a truce and coordinating international efforts in phone calls on Wednesday from Josep Borrel, high representative of the European Union for foreign affairs and security policy, and Mauro Vieira, Brazil’s foreign minister.

Shoukry stressed the vitality of “paving the way for a truce in order to spare the blood of the Palestinian people and civilians from both sides,” according to Ahmed Abu Zeid, spokesperson of Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Sources told the Al-Arabiya channel on Wednesday that Egypt proposed a six-hour truce to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza.

Shoukry stressed the need to advance coordinated efforts to ensure the regularity of services and humanitarian aid provided to the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip.

The causes of the crisis must be addressed, which are the continuation of the occupation and the absence of any political horizon for a solution that would enable the Palestinian people to establish their independent state, Shoukry pointed out.

Consultations will continue during the coming days in an effort to contain the crisis, according to a statement by Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The United Nations Security Council's (UNSC) session on Friday will primarily focus on facilitating the entry of humanitarian aid into Gaza from Egypt and Jordan, informed sources in New York told Ahram Online.

Brazil, which holds the rotating presidency of the UNSC in October, has called for a meeting of the UN body to discuss the conflict between Israel and Hamas, its Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Wednesday.

Short link: