Several truckloads of Turkish humanitarian aid entered the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip on Thursday via the Kerem Shalom commercial crossing linking the strip to Israel and Egypt, according to Anadolu Agency.
“The Israeli authorities allowed the entry [into Gaza] of three trucks bearing flour, sugar and rice, along with toys and bicycles for children,” Mounir al-Ghalban, director of the crossing’s Palestinian side, told Anadolu Agency.
The aid was trucked through Israel after being delivered earlier this week by two Turkish aid ships that docked in Israel’s Ashdod Port.
On Thursday afternoon, members of the Turkish Red Crescent — in cooperation with Gaza’s Social Affairs Ministry — distributed 40 of the bicycles to Gazan orphans and poor children.
“These contributions have made many Gazan children very happy,” Sinan Erdem Dome, director of the Turkish Red Crescent’s Gaza operations, said.
Muhammed Murteca, representative of the Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA) in Gaza, told Anadolu Agency that a 14-strong delegation from TIKA and Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), will distribute the aid supplies in coordination with the Palestinian Ministry of Social Affairs in Gaza.
On Monday, a Turkish ship carrying 2,500 tons of Gaza-bound humanitarian aid docked in Ashdod. It was the second vessel of its kind after the Turkish government sent a first aid ship to Ashdod in July.
Along with food and children’s toys, the latest shipment also includes 100 wheelchairs for the disabled.
The aid is expected to be distributed among poor Gazans before the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday, which will begin on Sept. 12.
The influx of Turkish aid to blockaded Gaza comes within the context of a deal signed this summer between Turkey and Israel in which the two agreed to restore diplomatic relations following a six-year hiatus.
According to Ankara, Tel Aviv has met its conditions for normalizing ties, which were severed in 2010 after Israeli commandos stormed a Gaza-bound Turkish aid vessel in international waters.
The attack resulted in the death of nine Turkish activists and wounded 30 others, one of whom succumbed to his injuries nearly four years later.