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Israeli protesters rally to block passage of Gaza bound humanitarian aid

Israeli activists block the exit of Ashdod port to stop trucks they claim are carrying humanitarian aid destined for the Gaza Strip, in Ashdod, Israel, Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024.   -  
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Leo Correa/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved.


Protests erupted near the main Israeli seaport as demonstrators opposed the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza on Thursday.

Dozens of people sat-in at the Ashdod port entrance, scrutinizing the trucks' cargo destinations. While it remains unclear if the protests blocked aid trucks, the United Nations has urged Israel to permit aid deliveries through the port.

This is not the first occurrence of these protests. On Sunday, demonstrators closed the Karam Abu Salem crossing, preventing humanitarian aid trucks from entering Gaza for the fourth time.

On Saturday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu conducted a press conference at the defense ministry, emphasizing that the successful achievement of the war's mission and objectives would be impossible without the essential provision of humanitarian aid to Gaza.

Israel initially imposed a blockade on Gaza at the conflict's onset, hindering aid entry. Despite easing under U.S. pressure, the delivered aid remains a fraction of pre-war levels.

The war's toll on Gaza has led to a severe humanitarian crisis. U.N. agency heads warned of an imminent famine and disease outbreak if urgent aid isn't provided.

Israeli restrictions and ongoing conflict have impeded aid delivery to Gaza's north, where several hundred thousand people are believed to have remained.

Approximately a quarter of Gaza's 2.3 million people are at risk of starvation, according to U.N. officials, underscoring the dire need for sustained humanitarian efforts amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict.

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