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U.S. calls on Israel to expand access of humanitarian aid into Gaza

Source: Xinhua | 01-09-2009 10:00

Special Report:   Israel airstrikes in Gaza

WASHINGTON, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) -- The United States on Thursday called on Israel to expand access of emergency aid into the Gaza Strip, saying the humanitarian situation there "is concerning to everyone."

"The secretary's working very hard on is to try to, with her counterparts, to build on that humanitarian corridor that the Israelis agreed to open. And we think it needs to be open further. We think the hours need to be increased," State Department deputy spokesman Robert Wood told reporters on Thursday.

"It is a conflict zone. It's a very difficult situation. We obviously believe the humanitarian situation to be a dire one. We're very concerned about what's going on, on the ground," said Wood.

The UN Relief and Works Agency in the Gaza Strip said Thursday that it has suspended activities, following its truck driver was killed and two other people were wounded by an Israeli tank shell near the Erez crossing, spokesman for the agency told CNN.

The UN agency, reportedly provides food and relief supplies to about 80 percent of 1.5 million people in the Gaza Strip, said its activities would be resumed unless the Israel army can guarantee the safety of its staff.

Early on Wednesday, Israel ordered a temporary halt to its military operations in the Gaza Strip for several hours to allow humanitarian aid to be reached civilians in the territory, but resumed strikes following the aid delivery.

At least 763 Palestinians have been killed and more than 3,200 others wounded in Israel's military strikes targeted at Hamas in the Gaza Strip since December 27, 2008, CNN on Thursday quoted Palestinian medical officials as saying.


Editor:Zhang Yun