Jakarta (ANTARA) - Humanitarian aid for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip from Indonesians will be distributed in two batches, according to Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Pahala Mansury.

"Today, we are sending off the first batch (of the aid) that comes from the people, Ministry of Health, and TNI (Indonesian Defense Forces)," Mansury remarked ahead of the sending off ceremony of Indonesia's humanitarian aid at Halim Perdanakusuma Air Base, Jakarta, on Saturday.

He noted that the aid in the first batch includes medical and sanitary equipment, food, sleeping bags, and equipment for winter, with a total weight of 51.5 tons.

The humanitarian assistance is being transported using two C-130 Hercules aircraft of the Indonesian Air Force's Squadron 31 and Squadron 32, he noted.

A total of 42 flight crew and two middle-ranking TNI officers from the Ministry of Defense, serving as liaisons, will execute the delivery process, he added.

Moreover, the National Police (Polri) will deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza using a Boeing 737 plane of Garuda Indonesia.

"We hope that this assistance will help people in Gaza meet their basic needs and relieve them from burden," he stated.

Mansury further explained that the aid would initially be handed over to the Red Crescent of Egypt before being delivered to Gaza by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

"We are planning to hand over the aid to the Egyptian Red Crescent. We have been maintaining intensive coordination with those obtaining authority from the Government of Egypt," he pointed out.

He then noted that Egypt is the only country through which humanitarian aid could be delivered to Gaza via a border gate in Rafah.

The three delivery aircraft, escorted by two Hercules planes, took off from the Halim Perdanakusuma Air Base on Saturday morning and will reach El Arish, Egypt, via Aceh in Indonesia, Yangon in Myanmar, New Delhi in India, Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, and Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.

Deputy Minister Mansury also noted that the second batch of the aid, comprising medicines and medical equipment, had been obtained from the Finance Ministry's International Development Cooperation Fund.

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Translator: Andi Firdaus, Tegar Nurfitra
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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