CAIRO: Trucks of flour have reached northern Gaza for distribution to areas that have had no aid in four months, Palestinian media reported on Sunday, with famine looming in the enclave.

A convoy of 12 trucks arrived in the north — six in Gaza City and six in the Jabalia refugee camp — carrying supplies to also be distributed to the northernmost areas of Beit Lahiya and Beit Hanoun, the media and residents said.

The Hamas-linked Home Front media outlet reported that the aid was distributed by the “Popular Committees”, a group that includes leaders of powerful clans in Gaza. A Hamas source said the route was secured by Hamas security personnel.

Aid agencies have warned that pockets of Gaza already face famine, with hospitals in the north reporting children dying of malnutrition and dehydration.

‘Popular Committees’ to distribute fresh supplies in areas of Beit Lahiya and Beit Hanoun

The hunger crisis has piled international pressure on Israel more than five months into its ground and air campaign in Gaza.Israel’s Western allies have warned it against attacking Rafah, however, unless it is able to protect civilians. But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said on Friday he had approved plans for an assault.Hamas presented a new ceasefire proposal last week including an exchange of Israeli hostages and Palestinian prisoners. Israel’s security cabinet is to meet to discuss it before the delegation leaves.

Netanyahu has already said the proposal was based on “unrealistic demands”, but a Palestinian official familiar with mediation efforts said chances for a deal looked better with Hamas having given more details on the proposed prisoner swap.

“The mediators felt positive about Hamas’ new proposal. Some in Israel felt the group made some improvement on its previous position and it is now in the hands of Netanyahu alone to say whether an agreement is imminent,” said the official.

Published in Dawn, March 18th, 2024

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