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US conducts first airdrop of humanitarian aid into Gaza

March 2, 2024 at 5:17 pm

A military aircraft drops humanitarian aid over Rafah in the skies of the southern Gaza Strip on 26 February, 2024 [SAID KHATIB/AFP via Getty Images]

The US said on Saturday it had carried out the first airdrop of humanitarian aid into Gaza, with more than 30,000 meals parachuted from military planes, Anadolu reports.

“U.S. Central Command and the Royal Jordanian Air Force conducted a combined humanitarian assistance airdrop into Gaza on March 2, 2024, between 3:00 and 5:00 p.m. (Gaza time) to provide essential relief to civilians affected by the ongoing conflict,” said CENTCOM in a statement.

“U.S. C-130s dropped over 38,000 meals along the coastline of Gaza allowing for civilian access to the critical aid,” it said.

“We are conducting planning for potential follow-on airborne aid delivery missions. These airdrops are part of a sustained effort to get more aid into Gaza, including by expanding the flow of aid through land corridors and routes,” said CENTCOM.

According to multiple reports, the airdrop took place in Rafah city of Gaza near the border with Egypt, and more airdrops are expected in the coming days.

President Joe Biden announced on Friday that the US will begin airdropping humanitarian aid into Gaza alongside Jordan and other countries.

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He also said the US will seek to open up other avenues into Gaza, including the possibility of a marine corridor to deliver large amounts of humanitarian assistance.

In addition to expanding deliveries by land, Biden said the US will insist that Israel facilitate more trucks and routes into the besieged enclave.

The airdrop comes two days after Israeli forces opened fire on a crowd of Palestinians waiting for humanitarian aid at the Al Nabulsi roundabout on Al Rashid Street, a major coastal road west of Gaza City in northern Gaza, killing over 100 and injuring over 760.

Israel has launched a deadly military offensive on the Gaza Strip since an Oct. 7, 2023 Hamas attack, which Tel Aviv said killed less than 1,200 people.

At least 30,320 Palestinians have since been killed and 71,533 others injured amid mass destruction and shortages of necessities.

Israel has also imposed a crippling blockade on the Gaza Strip, leaving its population, particularly residents of northern Gaza, on the verge of starvation.

Israel is accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice. An interim ruling in January ordered Tel Aviv to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

READ: Hamas: ‘International community failing to protect Gaza’s children from starvation’