Israel pauses military activity along main road in southern Gaza to facilitate aid

JERUSALEM, June 16 (Reuters) − The Israeli military said on Sunday it would hold daily tactical pauses in military activity along a main road in southern Gaza to allow more aid to flow into the enclave, where international aid organizations have warned of a growing humanitarian crisis.

Fighting in the city of Rafah, where Israel is targeting the remaining brigades of the militant Islamist Hamas movement, would continue, the military said.

It said military activity would be paused for 11 hours daily until further notice along the road that leads from the Kerem Shalom Crossing to the Salah al-Din Road and then northwards.

Despite growing international pressure for a ceasefire, an agreement to halt the fighting still appears distant, more than eight months since the start of the war in the Palestinian enclave.

Iran-backed Hezbollah in Lebanon opened a second front against Israel shortly after Hamas' Oct. 7 assault sparked the war in Gaza. Fighting across the Israel-Lebanon border is now threatening to spiral into a wider conflict. Tens of thousands of people have been displaced on both sides of the border.

In a further sign that fighting in Gaza could drag on, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government said on Sunday it was extending until Aug. 15 the period it would fund hotels and guest houses for residents evacuated from southern Israeli border towns.

Hamas led a rampage in southern Israel on Oct. 7 in which 1,200 people were killed and more than 250 taken hostage, according to Israeli tallies.

At least 37,296 Palestinians have been killed in Israel's military campaign, according to the Gaza health ministry.

(Reporting by James Mackenzie and Ari Rabinovitch Editing by William Mallard and Frances Kerry)

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Israel pauses military activity along main Gaza road to facilitate aid