Ship carrying aid for Gaza expected to depart Cyprus this weekend

International Gaza 030724 AP Hassan Eslaiah

A ship carrying humanitarian aid for Palestinians in Gaza is expected to depart a port in Cyprus on Saturday, bringing more help to the area devastated by Israel’s military operations. 

The ship, belonging to Spain’s Open Arms aid group, would use a sea corridor launched by international donors to supply Gaza with more humanitarian aid as the population faces increasing warnings of famine. 

The ship is waiting for World Central Kitchen’s (WCK) permission to depart the Larnaca port, according to the Associated Press. WCK is a U.S. charity led by celebrity chef José Andrés.

Open Arms’ ship is normally tasked with saving migrants at sea. The mission is part of a broader push from organizations and countries to increase the influx of help into Gaza as the humanitarian crisis worsens. 

The U.S. government is also utilizing Cyprus to distribute help to the region. 

During his Thursday State of the Union, President Biden announced he is tasking the U.S. military to spearhead the construction of a port along the coast of Gaza on the Mediterranean Sea. The port would receive larger ships carrying food and other supplies. Although the project will take a number of weeks to plan and execute, according to U.S. officials, it will not require any U.S. boots on the ground in Gaza. 

Israel acknowledged the new corridor, but cautioned that it would need to meet “Israeli” standards. 

“The Cypriot initiative will allow the increase of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip, after a security check according to Israeli standards,” a spokesperson for Israel’s foreign ministry, Lior Haiat, wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Five people were killed on Friday after an aid airdrop malfunctioned, hitting multiple homes. The airdrops from the U.S. were announced last Friday and the first one was completed last Saturday, delivering 38,000 meals.

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