Italian humanitarian aid to enter Gaza soon – minister

ROME (Reuters) – Humanitarian aid sent by Italy to Gaza will enter the besieged Palestinian enclave in the coming hours, the Italian foreign minister said on Tuesday

Antonio Tajani told parliament’s foreign affairs and defence committees that Italy has sent two C130 military aircraft carrying 16 tonnes of humanitarian aid and they were now in transit towards Gaza, now in its second month of warfare between Israeli forces and Hamas militants.

Trucks were queuing at the Rafah crossing, on the border with Egypt, and were expected to be let in soon, he said.

“We must ensure that all aid that enters the Gaza strip goes to needy civilians and that Hamas does not benefit from it, not even indirectly,” the minister said.

Tajani also said that the time needed to get aid into Gaza did not depend on Italy: “It’s not up to us, we would let much more (aid) through if it were up to us”.

Italy is also waiting to enter Gaza in order to install a field hospital.

The minister said the hospital ship Vulcano that Italy sent last week was off the coast of Cyprus and either required authorisations to move towards the coast of Gaza or needed an agreement for maritime humanitarian corridors to transport patients.

(Reporting by Giulia Segreti, editing by Gianluca Semeraro and Angus MacSwan)