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Gaza aid shipments to resume soon, Cyprus says, as 1,000 tons of food await delivery

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Aid shipments to Gaza are expected to resume soon from Cyprus, officials said on Wednesday, after the project was brought to a halt last week following Israel's killing of seven aid workers.

Jennifer, a cargo ship with humanitarian aid, approaches the port of Larnaca after pausing the mission of delivering humanitarian aid for Gaza, following the killing of seven aid workers in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza, in Larnaca, Cyprus, April 3, 2024. Reuters/Yiannis Kourtoglou

Aid shipments to Gaza are expected to resume soon from Cyprus, officials said on Wednesday, after the project was brought to a halt last week following Israel's killing of seven aid workers.

Cyprus has about 1,000 tons of aid destined for starving or severely hungry people in Gaza stored on the island. It is being held there following a decision by World Central Kitchen (WCK) to pause and review activity in the territory after the deaths of its workers on April 1.

The U.S. plans to set up a dock, with a target date of May 1, on Gaza's Mediterranean coast that will enable aid deliveries which will be pre-screened in Cyprus, with Israeli oversight.

With that jetty in place, Cyprus expects aid to resume soon, Cypriot president Nikos Christodoulides said.

"We are in communication with countries we have worked with from the outset, so that very soon humanitarian aid from Cyprus will resume after the completion of the U.S. project in Gaza," he said.

Six months into Israel's air and ground campaign in Gaza, triggered by Hamas' Oct. 7 attack on southern Israel, the devastated Palestinian enclave faces famine and widespread disease with nearly all its inhabitants now homeless.

The WCK had been operational in Gaza since October, using land, air and more recently the sea, to get aid into the enclave to supply its network of more than 60 community kitchens. Workers were mid-way into unloading a second shipment of aid through the Cyprus route when their three-vehicle convoy was hit by Israeli strikes.

After WCK announced the pause, a convoy of ships taking part in the mission returned to Cyprus on April 3 with undelivered aid. Initially at anchorage, the ship carrying food was brought to port for offloading after bad weather in Cyprus this week.

"The plan is to store the aid until WCK decides what it wants to do," a Cypriot official told Reuters.

Reporting by Michele Kambas

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