GAZA/JERUSALEM, Oct 21 (Reuters) – A long-awaited convoy of trucks carrying humanitarian aid crossed into southern Gaza on Saturday for the first time since Israel began a devastating siege 12 days ago, as Israel’s military pounded northern Gaza and warned it would increase its attacks.

U.S. President Joe Biden cheered the arrival of the aid after days of intense negotiations and said the United States was committed to ensuring more assistance would enter via southern Gaza Strip’s Rafah border point with Egypt.

“We will continue to work with all parties to keep the Rafah crossing in operation,” Biden said in a statement.

Twenty flatbed trucks, flying white flags and honking their horns, exited the crossing after checks and headed into Gaza’s southern area which includes the major towns of Rafah and Khan Younis where hundreds of thousands of people made homeless by Israel’s unrelenting air war are sheltering.

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