Cyprus halts Gaza aid sea corridor following activist deaths-Xinhua

Cyprus halts Gaza aid sea corridor following activist deaths

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2024-04-03 03:39:00

NICOSIA, April 2 (Xinhua) -- Cypriot authorities have halted the operation of the Amalthea sea corridor delivering aid to Gaza in the wake of the tragic deaths of seven aid workers in an Israeli attack, Cyprus Foreign Minister Constantinos Kombos announced on Tuesday.

Kombos said the suspension is pending a thorough reassessment of the situation on the ground, particularly after the withdrawal of the non-governmental organization (NGO) World Central Kitchen (WCK) from the project.

WCK decided to leave the Amalthea project following the deaths of seven of its aid workers in the Israeli air strike in central Gaza.

According to a statement by WCK, the victims included nationals of Australia, Poland, the United Kingdom, and Palestine, as well as one American-Canadian citizen. They had unloaded 100 tons of aid brought to Gaza through the Cyprus sea aid corridor before being killed in the air strike.

"Activities have been put on hold as NGO World Central Kitchen has announced its withdrawal from the project," Kombos remarked, stressing the need for answers from Israel regarding the incident.

The Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre (JRCC) at Larnaca port, the base of the Amalthea project, instructed three ships, loaded with hundreds of tons of foodstuffs destined for Gaza, to return to port.

Despite the uncertainty surrounding the future of the sea aid corridor operation, Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides emphasized the importance of continuing the project, citing the urgent food needs of Gaza.

"We need to intensify our efforts to deliver aid to Gaza," Christodoulides stressed, acknowledging WCK's significant role as a partner in the initiative.

Israel launched a large-scale offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip on Oct. 27 in retaliation against Hamas attacks in southern Israel on Oct. 7, 2023, during which about 1,200 people were killed and more than 250 were taken hostage.

The health ministry in Gaza said on Monday that the death toll from the ongoing Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip has risen to 32,845.