Palestinians receive treatment at the Shifa Hospital from their wounds caused by an Israeli airstrike that destroyed the upper floors of a commercial building and caused damage to the nearby Health Ministry and prime health care clinic, in Gaza City, Monday, May 17, 2021. AP
The United Nations on Tuesday welcomed an Israeli decision to open the Kerem Shalom crossing to allow aid into Gaza, and urged the opening of a second location to let in humanitarian workers.
Humanitarian aid is urgently needed in the Gaza Strip after over a week of Israeli air strikes that have killed more than 200 Palestinians there.
"We very much welcome the Israeli authorities' opening of Kerem Shalom crossing for essential humanitarian supplies," Jens Laerke, a spokesman for the UN humanitarian agency OCHA, told reporters in Geneva.
He added that it was now "critical" that a separate crossing, Erez, also open "for the entry and exit of critical humanitarian staff".
Going forward, he said, "humanitarian access into and out of Gaza for staff and goods must be sustained and appropriate measures taken to continue movements within Gaza."
Israel launched its air campaign on the Gaza Strip on May 10 after the enclave's rulers after Hamas and other Palestinian factions fired rockets in response to Israeli attacks on Palestinians and Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem.
In total, Israeli air strikes have killed 212 Palestinians, including 61 children, in Gaza -- whilst rockets fired by Palestinian armed groups have killed 10 people in Israel, including a child, according to officials on both sides.
The conflict risks precipitating a humanitarian disaster, with the UN saying some 47,000 Palestinians have been displaced, while more than 130 residential and commercial buildings in the enclave have been destroyed.
*This story was edited by Ahram Online