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Germany pledges €50 million in aid for Gaza civilians

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AFP/The Local - [email protected]
Germany pledges €50 million in aid for Gaza civilians
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock arrives in Tel Aviv, Israel. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Jörg Blank

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock announced €50 million in aid for civilians in the Gaza Strip, on the first stage of a mini-tour of the Middle East.

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Germany was also preparing to send medical teams into the Gaza Strip, she added, her ministry said in a statement released on Thursday. 

The aim of her tour, she said, was to express "unwavering solidarity" and to help ensure Palestinian access to aid.

She announced the aid package in Jordan, the first stage of her tour of the region, which will also take in Lebanon and Israel.

"Our message is clear," she said at a news conference in Amman with Jordan's Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, according to her ministry.

"We don't abandon the innocent Palestinian mothers, fathers and children."

Before her departure, Baerbock insisted on Israel's "right to defend itself against Hamas terror" and accused the militant group of using the civilian population of the Gaza Strip as "human shields" in its conflict with Israel.

Hamas gunmen broke through Israel's heavily fortified Gaza border on October 7th, killing more than 1,400 people, most of them civilians, and taking at least 199 people hostage, according to Israel.

Israel has responded to the attacks with relentless air strikes on Gaza that have killed more than 3,470 people, mainly civilians, according to the Hamas-controlled health ministry.

It has also imposed a crippling siege on the Palestinian enclave that has left its inhabitants with dwindling supplies of food, water and fuel.

"It is important to me to make clear to Palestinians that we also recognise their suffering," Baerbock said before starting her tour. The humanitarian
situation in Gaza was "catastrophic", she said.

READ ALSO: German Chancellor Scholz 'horrified' by Gaza hospital blast

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Baerbock, who already visited Israel and Egypt last week followed by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, said Berlin was working closely with the G7, European Union and regional partners to ensure aid could flow into Gaza.

She said she would also "use the trip to speak with all those who have channels to Hamas" to discuss how to secure the release of hostages held by the group.

German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius made a surprise visit to Lebanon on Thursday.

Pistorius's ministry said his visit "at short notice" was to thank German soldiers serving with UNIFIL, the UN peacekeeping force deployed in a buffer zone between northern Israel and southern Lebanon.

It posted on X, formerly Twitter, that the minister also intended to "get informed about the impact of the conflict in Israel and Gaza on the (German) contingent in the region".

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