UAE aid reaches Khan Younis as businesses reopen in parts of Gaza

Civilians return to find homes devastated by months of war

UAE aid first to arrive in Khan Younis after Israeli military withdrawal

UAE aid first to arrive in Khan Younis after Israeli military withdrawal
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The UAE delivered aid to Khan Younis on Friday as civilians begin to return home to the devastated city following the withdrawal of Israeli troops.

Much of the southern city, which was home to 400,000 people before October 7, now lies in ruins, and Palestinians seeking to re-establish their lives there are in need of humanitarian assistance.

The latest shipment of aid comes as part of the UAE’s Gallant Knight 3 Initiative and will be distributed to the families who have returned to their damaged homes in Khan Younis.

The UAE has offered essential financial and humanitarian assistance since the war broke out more than six months ago, following Hamas's attack on southern Israel.

More than 33,899 Palestinians have been killed in Israel's subsequent ground and air offensive.

Its initial ground operations focused on Gaza city and the north of the enclave, before shifting to Khan Younis in December.

After pulling out most Israeli troops from Khan Younis and surrounding areas in early April, Israeli leaders have vowed to launch a ground offensive against Gaza's southernmost city of Rafah, where about 1.5 million Palestinians are believed to be sheltering against the Egyptian border.

Israel's allies, including the US, have warned that the offensive could exacerbate the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and leave civilians with nowhere else to go.

Slightly more aid has been allowed into the enclave this month, with some Palestinians trying to restart their livelihoods, despite the threat of air strikes and the limited resources.

Some shops and restaurants have reopened across the Strip and started to operate again.

Hamdi Al Nimnim, an owner of a shawarma restaurant in Jabalya, in the north of the Gaza Strip, has reopened his business despite the lack of basic necessities such as water and electricity.

Mr Al Nimnim told The National that he began preparing to open his restaurant a week ago after goods and meat started to enter Gaza. He is relying on firewood to prepare the food, which is costing him a lot.

"We are still facing some challenges such as high prices, and the biggest issue is the lack of cooking gas," he said.

"People in Gaza want to live and return to their normal lives. When aid lorries and goods began to arrive in Gaza, people started holding on to survival."

Most buildings in Gaza have been destroyed, and whole streets lie in ruins.

"Since the Israeli forces withdrew from most parts of the North of the Gaza Strip, people have begun to return to their normal lives," Mr Al Nimnim said.

Sami Japer, an ice cream shop owner in Gaza city, told The National that supermarkets are beginning to restock their shelves and resume operations after the entry of some trading lorries into northern Gaza.

Mr Japer has resumed selling frozen and cold drinks, relying on solar energy.

He plans to start preparing to sell ice cream soon.

"Israel is deliberately targeting commercial projects in Gaza to crush any hope for life in Gaza," he said.

Before the war, he had four branches across Gaza city and northern Gaza but they were damaged by the shelling.

He insists on reopening one of them now and hopes to succeed in reopening all of them soon.

"People in Gaza feel so happy when they see any business owner come back to reopen their shop. This gives them hope that Gaza will return to its previous state," Mr Japer said.

Updated: April 19, 2024, 1:31 PM