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Arab League calls for aid to be sent to Gaza

Arab League Council in Cairo.   -  
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The Arab League has called for urgent aid to be sent to Gaza as it convened in Cairo for the 161st session of its council on Monday.

"It is urgent and there is no time to wait. The international community is obligated to deal with the famine that has started to ravage elders and children," Hussein Sidi Abdellah Deh, Mauritania's permanent representative to the Arab League and chairman of session told delegates.

Aid groups say it has become nearly impossible to deliver humanitarian assistance in most of Gaza because of the difficulty of coordinating with the Israeli military, ongoing hostilities and the breakdown of public order, with crowds of desperate people overwhelming aid convoys.

The United Nations said last week that at least one quarter of Gaza's population is on the verge of famine and said that virtually all of the area's 2.3 million people desperately need food. 

There are growing international calls for another cease-fire, with the US, Egypt and Qatar working to secure a deal between Israel and Hamas for a pause in fighting and the release of some of the hostages.

Mediators hope to reach an agreement before the Muslim holy month of Ramadan starts around March 10.

The Hamas-run health ministry said on Sunday that the death toll in the Gaza Strip has now exceeded 30,400. 

But so far, Israel and Hamas have remained far apart in public on their demands.

The UN says a quarter of Gaza’s 2.3 million Palestinians face starvation; around 80% have fled their homes.

The Hamas attack on Oct.7 into southern Israel that ignited the war killed 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and the militants seized around 250 hostages.

Hamas and other militants are still holding around 100 hostages and the remains of about 30 more, after releasing most of the other captives during a November cease-fire.

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