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Cyprus aid ship reaches Gaza coastline, second vessel loaded in Larnaca

The Open Arms and World Central Kitchen aid ship which sailed from Larnaca last Tuesday, with 120 tons of humanitarian aid is now located off the coast of Gaza.

Israel’s Defense Ministry announced Thursday night that it was preparing for the vessel’s arrival and that the receipt of the aid would be coordinated with the country’s authorities, “based on the instructions of the Israeli government and the request of the US government.”

Israeli newspapers say the ship was expected to be inspected again once it reached twenty nautical miles off the coast of Gaza and then head for shore, escorted by Israeli Navy and Air Force forces.

According to the same sources, the vessel will “tie up” at a temporary jetty built by the World Central Kitchen organization, in coordination with Israel’s Ministry of Defense. From there, the aid will be distributed under the organization’s responsibility, while the Israeli Navy and Air Force will monitor, from afar, its safe transport.

Meanwhile in Larnaca, the departure of a second boat of the organizations Open Arms and World Central Kitchen to Gaza is expected Friday.

The ship, named “Jennifer”, will carry at least five hundred tons of aid, mainly sugar, flour, pasta and milk.

The head of the non-governmental organization World Central Kitchen, Jose Andres, in a post Twitter said that the second vessel has the capacity to carry thousands of tons of aid and that, with the sea corridor, millions of meals can be delivered to the people of the north Gaza within the next few weeks.

On Thursday, Cypriot president Nikos Christodoulides has said for the first time in nearly two decades, the Gaza Strip will be connected to the outside world through its sea border.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Christodoulidis noted that the initiative to open a maritime humanitarian corridor was a ‘duty of Cyprus’ and explained that the operational protocol was produced jointly with the Israelis.

The delivery of aid to Gaza is of critical urgency as the humanitarian crisis in the enclave has been worsening since Israel launched a large-scale offensive in Gaza to retaliate against a deadly Hamas attack on Israel on Oct. 7 last year.

Famagusta Gazette