IDF says first Gaza food aid trucks have entered through northern Israel crossing

The Israel Defense Forces said Friday that the first food aid trucks entered Gaza through the Kerem Shalom northern Israel crossing Thursday. They entered a day after USAID said it was "credible" to assess that famine is already occurring in parts of Gaza. Photo courtesy of IDF

April 12 (UPI) -- The Israel Defense Forces said Friday that the first food aid trucks have gone into Gaza from the newly opened northern crossing from Israel.

The IDF announced the effort, in collaboration with Israel's Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, in a post on X.

"The trucks underwent thorough security checks by the security authorities of the Land Crossings Authority of the Ministry of Defense at the Kerem Shalom crossing, and were accompanied by IDF soldiers," the IDF said on X.

COGAT also confirmed the crossing on X Friday, saying the vehicles underwent "rigorous checks."

"In accordance with the decision of the government of Israel, the trucks entered through the new Northern Crossing from Israel into Gaza yesterday, as part of efforts to enhance the humanitarian aid corridors to Gaza in general, and to the North in particular," it said.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced the approval of the crossing and measures to increase the flow of aid through a port in Ashdod on Wednesday.

The announcement came after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week agreed to open new routes following a conversation with U.S. President Joe Biden.

Netanyahu said at the time the "increased aid will prevent a humanitarian crisis."

However, Samantha Power, administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, said Wednesday that an assessment from the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification in mid-March that found that famine could set in between late March and mid-May was "credible."

Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, then asked if that means "famine is already occurring there?"

"That is -- yes," Power replied.

According to U.S. officials Gaza aid is also hampered by a lack of trucks and drivers in Gaza due to the damage and danger caused by the war.

Trucks entering Gaza are screened, unloaded in Gaza and reloaded onto different trucks operating inside Gaza.