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AL chief denounces deprivation of life-saving aid for Palestinians

Xinhua | Updated: 2024-03-04 09:28

A girl with a pot is seen on a street in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah, on March 1, 2024. [Photo/Xinhua]

CAIRO - Arab League (AL) Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said on Sunday that depriving the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip of basic life-saving aid is tantamount to a "death sentence and collective punishment".

The AL chief made the remarks during his meeting with Sigrid Kaag, United Nations senior humanitarian and reconstruction coordinator for Gaza, at the league's headquarters in Cairo, the pan-Arab organization said in a statement.

Aboul Gheit attributed the deteriorating humanitarian conditions in Gaza, home to over 2 million people, to "the green light that some major powers gave to Israel to practice aggression in such a hideous and inhuman manner," according to the statement.

He reiterated that the priority at this stage is to reach an immediate ceasefire, stop the bloodshed, and prevent a possible famine in Gaza.

Both sides agreed that the return of the Palestinian Authority to the Gaza Strip is "an urgent necessity for reconstruction", said the AL statement.

Israel launched a massive military campaign on Gaza after Gaza-ruling Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) attacked southern Israeli towns on Oct 7 last year, killing about 1,200 and taking over 200 as hostages.

The Israeli escalation has killed so far 30,410 Palestinians and wounded 71,700 others, as reported by Gaza's Health Ministry on Sunday.

Earlier in the day, a high-level delegation headed by Hamas's deputy chief in Gaza Khalil Al-Hayya arrived in Cairo for talks with Egyptian officials on a truce with Israel during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan that starts next week, an Egyptian security source told Xinhua on conditions of anonymity.

The expected deal will include a swap of 40 Israeli hostages for 400 Palestinian prisoners, as well as increasing aid trucks into the besieged enclave, the source said, adding that an Israeli delegation is likely to arrive later on Sunday for truce talks.

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