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First Trucks of Turkish Aid Arrive in Gaza


Palestinians unload Turkish aid shipments upon arrival in the Gaza Strip at Kerem Shalom crossing between Israel and southern Gaza Strip, July 4, 2016.

Palestinians unload Turkish aid shipments upon arrival in the Gaza Strip at Kerem Shalom crossing between Israel and southern Gaza Strip, July 4, 2016.

Trucks carrying about 10,000 tons of aid from Turkey have begun arriving in Gaza via Israel, a week after Turkey and Israel mended ties.

The first of about 500 trucks carrying toys, diapers, clothes, medicine and food entered Gaza on Monday after a security check in Israel, with more planned in the coming days.

Relations between Israel and Turkey broke down in May 2010 after Israeli marines stormed a Turkish ship challenging Israel's naval blockade of the Gaza Strip and killed 10 pro-Palestinian Turkish activists during fighting on board.

Kerem Kinik, president of the Turkish Red Crescent Society, traveled to Gaza to supervise the distribution of the goods. He said Turkey would provide "continuous, regular humanitarian assistance" for the territory.

The delivery comes in time for Wednesday's Eid al-Fitr holiday marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Israel imposed a blockade on the Gaza Strip in 2006 after the Palestinian group Hamas, which runs the territory, abducted an Israeli soldier. The measures were tightened in 2007 after Hamas ousted its rival Fatah and forcibly took control in Gaza after winning elections the year before.

Israel says the blockade is necessary to prevent Hamas from receiving materials that could be used for military purposes, but the United Nations has long been critical of it.

Last week, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called it "collective punishment for which there must be accountability."

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