CAIRO, May 15 — Egypt’s foreign minister yesterday accused Israel of denying responsibility for the humanitarian crisis in Gaza after his Israeli counterpart said Egypt was not allowing aid into the war-torn territory.

Israeli troops on May 7 said they took control of the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing to Egypt as part of efforts to root out Hamas militants in the east of Rafah city.

The move defied international opposition and shut one of the main humanitarian entry points into famine-threatened Gaza. Since then, Egypt has refused to coordinate with Israel aid access through the Rafah crossing.

Sameh Shoukry, Egypt’s foreign minister, said in a statement that “Egypt affirms its categorical rejection of the policy of distorting the facts and disavowing responsibility followed by the Israeli side.”

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In a tweet on social media platform X, Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz had said, “Yesterday, I spoke with UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron and German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock about the need to persuade Egypt to reopen the Rafah crossing to allow the continued delivery of international humanitarian aid to Gaza.”

Katz added that “the key to preventing a humanitarian crisis in Gaza is now in the hands of our Egyptian friends.”

Shoukry, whose country has tried to mediate a truce in the Israel-Hamas war, responded that “Israel is solely responsible for the humanitarian catastrophe that the Palestinians are currently facing in the Gaza Strip.”

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He added that Israeli control of the Palestinian side of the Rafah border crossing and its military operations exposes “aid workers and truck drivers to imminent dangers”, referencing trucks awaiting entry to Gaza.

This, he said, “is the main reason for the inability to bring aid through the crossing”.

UN chief Antonio Guterres said he is “appalled” by Israel’s military escalation in Rafah, a spokesman said.

Guterres’ spokesman Farhan Haq said “these developments are further impeding humanitarian access and worsening an already dire situation,” while also criticising Hamas for “firing rockets indiscriminately.”

Since Israeli troops moved into eastern Rafah, the aid crossing point from Egypt remains closed and nearby Kerem Shalom crossing lacks “safe and logistically viable access,” a UN report said late on Monday. — AFP