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Iran to send aid to Gaza via Egypt

Aug. 23, 2014 10:16 A.M. (Updated: Aug. 23, 2014 2:44 P.M.)
TEHRAN (AFP) -- Iran plans to send aid to the beleaguered Gaza Strip after Egypt said it would allow the shipment to enter the Palestinian territory, an Iranian diplomatic source said on Friday.

The official IRNA news agency said Cairo had agreed to transfer humanitarian aid bound for the coastal enclave, citing a foreign ministry source in Tehran.

The source said a first Iranian Red Crescent shipment of 100 tons of medicine and food would be flown "soon" to Cairo.

"The package weighs 100 tons and consists of food and medication," IRNA quoted the source as saying.

At least 2,097 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed since July 8 in the worst Israeli assault since the 2000-05 intifada, the vast majority of whom were civilians according to United Nations estimates.

Sixty-eight have been killed on the Israeli side: 64 soldiers and 4 civilians, the latest a four-year-old boy killed by mortar fire on Friday.

Tehran said at the end of July it had sent a first shipment of aid to Cairo that was awaiting authorization to enter the enclave via Rafah in southern Gaza, the only crossing point not controlled by Israel.

Impoverished Gaza is one of the most densely populated places on the planet, and many areas have been devastated by the Israeli offensive, which has left more than 100,000 homeless.

United Nations humanitarian chief Valerie Amos said during a visit to Iran on Sunday that it will take months to repair damage to the UN's infrastructure caused by the Israeli bombardment.

A total of 97 UNRWA installations, including health and food distribution centers as well as schools, have been damaged in the war between Israel and the Hamas movement which controls the territory.

Iran does not recognize Israel and provides financial and military assistance to Islamist Palestinian groups.

Iranian officials have said that Tehran provided Hamas and Islamic Jihad militants with the technology necessary to make rockets.

Iran has condemned Israel's Operation Protective Edge, and Tehran municipality renamed a key street where the UN headquarters is located "Gaza Avenue."

Ma'an staff contributed to this report.
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