Red Cross head checks humanitarian situation in Gaza

Xinhua News Agency


GAZA, Sept. 5 (Xinhua) -- Head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Peter Maurer visited the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip on Tuesday and met with the Islamic movement chief Yehya Sinwar.

Maurer arrived in the Gaza Strip through Erez crossing point earlier on Tuesday morning from Israel, and toured several devastated areas in the coastal enclave and met with several families.

An ICRC statement said earlier that Maurer's visit aimed at checking the deteriorated humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, which has been under an Israeli blockade for more than 10 years.

He also visited at the main office of Hamas chief Yehya Sinwar in Gaza city to hold talks with Sinwar over the situation in the Gaza Stip. There were no more details on what both had discussed during their meeting.

However, sources in Hamas movement said the talks focused on the deteriorated humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons and the issue of the four Israelis missing in Gaza since 2014.

Meanwhile, the Israeli media reported that Sinwar rejected the request of Maurer to visit the missing Israelis in the Gaza Strip; two civilians and two soldiers. It's not known if the two soldiers are still alive or dead.

Sinwar had earlier stated in a meeting with Gaza journalists held at his office two weeks ago that there are several mediators to finalize a prisoners' swap deal between Israel and Hamas.

However, he insisted that there will be no talks on a new swap deal with Israel before releasing 54 prisoners, who were arrested in the West Bank after they were released in a first Egyptian-brokered swap deal reached in 2011.