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NAIROBI: The African Union condemned Wednesday the Israeli military’s moves into southern Gaza’s Rafah, calling for the international community to stop “this deadly escalation” of the war.

AU Commission chief Moussa Faki Mahamat “firmly condemns the extension of this war to the Rafah crossing”, said a statement after Israeli tanks captured the key corridor for humanitarian aid into the besieged Palestinian territory.

Faki “expresses his extreme concern at the war undertaken by Israel in Gaza which results, at every moment, in massive deaths and systematic destruction of the conditions of human life”, the statement said.

“He calls on the entire international community to effectively coordinate collective action to stop this deadly escalation.”

The Israeli push into Rafah, which is packed with displaced civilians, came as negotiators and mediators met in Cairo to try to hammer out a truce in the seven-month war between Israel and the Hamas group.

US paused shipment of weapons to Israel to head off Rafah invasion

Israel on Wednesday said it had reopened the Kerem Shalom border crossing to humanitarian aid for Gaza, four days after closing it in response to a rocket attack that killed four soldiers.

It said the Erez border crossing between Israel and northern Gaza was also open for aid deliveries into the Palestinian territory, for the first time since the war broke out.

The United Nations and Israel’s staunchest ally the United States both condemned the closure of the crossings which are a lifeline for civilians facing looming famine.

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