Hamas warns of talks pullout unless Gaza aid increased

Agence France-Presse
Hamas warns of talks pullout unless Gaza aid increased
A picture taken from a position in southern Israel on February 16, 2024, destroyed buildings in the Gaza Strip amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas.
AFP / Jack Guez

PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES — Hamas threatened Saturday to suspend ceasefire talks unless urgent aid was brought into the north of the Gaza Strip, where aid agencies have warned of a looming famine.

"The movement intends to suspend negotiations until aid is brought into northern Gaza," a senior source in the Palestinian militant group told AFP.

"Negotiations cannot be held while hunger is ravaging the Palestinian people," he said, asking not to be identified as he is not authorised to speak on the issue.

Talks have been held in the Egyptian capital Cairo this week to bring about a pause in fighting in Israel's four-month-old war with Hamas in Gaza.

The outcome of the negotiations is still unclear and Israel is preparing to move into the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah as part of its mission to destroy Hamas for carrying out the October 7 attack.

But there have been mounting calls, including from Israel's closest international allies, not to go into the city, because 1.4 million displaced Gazans sheltering there have nowhere else to go.

The UN's World Food Programme has warned that Gazans are inching closer towards famine, with concern highest about the north of the coastal territory because aid agencies are unable to get in.

The head of the UN humanitarian agency OCHA in the Palestinian territories, Andrea De Domenico, said he had "no idea" how an estimated 300,000 people still in the north had survived.

"What we managed to bring up there is absolutely not enough. It is pure misery," he told AFP this week.

Calls have increased for more trucks carrying aid to be allowed into Gaza, but Israel has tightened checks it says are necessary to prevent Hamas leaders from escaping and arms being smuggled in.

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