World News

Olmert orders "humanitarian corridor" for Gaza

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel will set up a “humanitarian corridor” for the Gaza Strip, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s office said on Wednesday, after aid agencies complained of a mounting crisis for the enclave’s 1.5 million Palestinians.

Israeli ground forces, which invaded Gaza on Saturday to counter rocket fire by armed Palestinian factions, have bisected the territory and encircled major populated areas.

Olmert’s office said in a statement that the corridor had been recommended by Israel’s military chiefs and would entail granting periodic access to various areas of the strip to allow Palestinians to stock up on vital goods.

An Olmert spokesman, Mark Regev, described the measure as a “special status to allow the transfer of people, foodstuffs and medicines” and said it could be implemented on Wednesday.

Writing by Alastair Macdonald; Editing by Richard Williams