What are the latest obstacles to bringing humanitarian aid into Gaza, where hunger is worsening?

JERUSALEM (AP) — One major land crossing into Gaza was shut down after a Hamas rocket attack, another by an Israeli incursion. And only a trickle of aid is entering through a third crossing that just opened in recent weeks.

The latest developments threaten to worsen the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza more than seven months into the Israeli onslaught launched in response to Hamas' Oct. 7 attack.

The head of the U.N. food agency has said northern Gaza is already experiencing "full-blown famine" and experts say nearly all of the territory's 2.3 million Palestinians are facing severe hunger. The Israeli offensive has caused widespread devastation and made domestic food production nearly impossible, leaving Gaza totally dependent on aid groups for food, medicine and basic goods.

Aid workers say airdrops and plans to deliver aid by sea are no substitute for land deliveries.

Here's a look at the state of Gaza's crossings:


The Kerem Shalom crossing in the southeastern corner of Gaza is the only one designed to handle large deliveries of cargo. It was shut down on Sunday after a Hamas rocket attack killed four Israeli soldiers.

COGAT, the Israeli military body in charge of Palestinian civilian affairs, says the crossing reopened on Wednesday and released a video showing trucks entering from the Israeli side.

But the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, the main provider of aid in Gaza, says no aid has actually entered Gaza from Kerem Shalom because of the security situation on the Palestinian side.

Foreign aid is typically trucked in from the Israeli side, unloaded in a central area and then picked up by Palestinian drivers who take it to distribution points.

Hamas has continued to launch rockets and mortar rounds at Israeli troops stationed near the crossing, including a strike on Wednesday after it reopened, and Israel regularly launches airstrikes in and around the nearby city of Rafah.


An Israeli tank brigade captured the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing with Egypt on Tuesday, forcing it to shut down. Israel said the limited incursion was part of its efforts to dismantle Hamas' military and governing capabilities.

Rafah is the main entry point for fuel needed for vehicles and generators that are essential for humanitarian efforts. The U.N. says it is already rationing fuel and does not have enough to maintain its operations in Gaza for longer than a few days.

Rafah is also the only crossing that people can use to enter or leave Gaza. Palestinian officials say dozens of patients who were set to travel for medical treatment have been left stranded.

It remains unclear how long Israel plans to hold the crossing or when it might reopen.


Israel recently began allowing the U.N.'s World Food Program to deliver aid through the Erez crossing in northern Gaza, which suffered heavy devastation in the first months of the war and has been largely isolated by Israeli forces.

The U.N. food agency says a famine is underway in northern Gaza and that infectious diseases are spreading rapidly, with some 90% of children having fallen ill. Some 300,000 Palestinians remained in northern Gaza after Israel ordered the entire region evacuated in October.

The Erez crossing, which in the past was limited to foot traffic, has been turned into a cargo thoroughfare.

COGAT said 60 aid trucks entered the north on Tuesday.


Jordan, the United States and other nations began airdropping aid into Gaza earlier this year, but aid agencies describe that as a costly, last-ditch effort that cannot meet mounting needs.

The United States has also completed the construction of a floating pier and causeway for the delivery of aid by seas but has not yet installed it on the Gaza coastline because of bad weather. A ship loaded with U.S. aid and bound for the new pier nevertheless departed Cyprus on Thursday.

Officials say they expect about 90 truckloads of aid a day initially and that it will quickly grow to about 150 a day.

The U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees says an average of more than 250 trucks were entering Gaza through Rafah and Kerem Shalom before the rocket attack and the incursion.

Before the war, some 500 trucks were entering Gaza through the two southern crossings.


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