Jerusalem, Oct 16: Israel on Monday denied reports that it has agreed to a ceasefire in southern Gaza to allow the Rafah border crossing to open to let aid into the Hamas-controlled enclave.
“At the moment there is no ceasefire for humanitarian aid in the Gaza Strip and the exit of foreigners,” The Times of Israel quoted a statement issued by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyau’s office.
Earlier, reports said that Israel had agreed to halt fire from 9 a.m. in a deal agreed on with Egypt and the US. Several Likud ministers are vehemently opposing a reported US-brokered temporary truce to allow aid into the Gaza Strip through the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, The Times of Israel reported.
Energy Minister Israel Katz says he “bitterly opposes the opening of the blockade and the introduction of goods into Gaza on humanitarian grounds”.
“Our commitment is to the families of the murdered and kidnapped hostages — not to the Hamas murderers and those who helped them,” he said.
Also objecting the move, Culture Minister Miki Zohar said: "Those who massacre children, rape women and kidnap babies do not deserve any mercy."
Meanwhile, the Hamas has also said that it did not have any information about the proposed humanitarian truce at the Rafah border crossing.
A security alert from the US Embassy in Jerusalem on Monday morning cited media reports saying the Rafah crossing will open at 9 a.m. on Monday.
“We anticipate that the situation at the Rafah crossing will remain fluid and unpredictable and it is unclear whether, or for how long, travelers will be permitted to transit the crossing,” the embassy statement said.
The Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt is the only remaining outlet for supplies, but it has been closed for much of the past week, with neither Gazans nor foreign nationals able to cross.
Tonnes of vital humanitarian supplies for people in Gaza have been piling up on the Egyptian side of the border.