US carries out first airdrop of support into Gaza By Reuters


© Reuters. Assist is air-dropped over Gaza, amid the continued the battle between Israel and Hamas, in Gaza Metropolis, March 1, 2024. REUTERS/Kosay Al Nemer

By Idrees Ali, Phil Stewart and Jeff Mason

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. navy on Saturday carried out its first airdrop of support into Gaza, after the deaths of Palestinians queuing for meals underlined the rising humanitarian disaster within the crowded coastal enclave after months of Israeli navy operations.

Different international locations together with Jordan and France have already performed airdrops of support into Gaza, the place the U.N. Workplace for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says 1 / 4 of the inhabitants – 576,000 individuals – are one step from famine.

The U.S. airdrop used C-130 transport plane which dropped greater than 38,000 meals alongside Gaza’s Mediterranean shoreline, the U.S. navy stated in a press release. Jordanian forces additionally took half within the operation.

“We’re conducting planning for potential follow-on airborne support supply missions,” the assertion stated.

A senior administration official, talking on situation of anonymity, stated the drop had not been coordinated with any teams on the bottom in Gaza however U.S. officers had seen civilians approaching the help and distributing it amongst themselves.

“We have been monitoring the placement the place the help was dropped,” the official stated.

A second U.S. official instructed Reuters the airdrops passed off over southwestern Gaza and the city of Mawasi.

The White Home stated on Friday the airdrops might be a sustained effort, and that Israel supported the measure.

Below stress at residence and overseas, the Biden administration can be contemplating delivery support by sea from Cyprus, some 210 nautical miles off Gaza’s coast, based on a U.S. official.

The U.S. for months has been calling for Israel to permit extra support into Gaza, one thing Israel has resisted.

Some consultants stated being compelled to resort to pricey, inefficient airdrops was the newest demonstration of Washington’s restricted affect over Israel because it pursues its battle with Hamas. Washington is arming Israel and considers it one in every of its closest allies within the area.

Critics of airdrops say they’ve solely a restricted affect on the struggling, and that it’s almost inconceivable to make sure provides don’t find yourself within the arms of militants.

One other U.S. official stated distributing support has been a big problem in Gaza as a result of lawlessness has escalated, with legal gangs taking support and reselling it.

“There is a means that you just resolve this downside. And the way in which is you flood the market. You herald help from each level you possibly can – air, sea, land,” the official instructed reporters. “The president’s intent is to see that flooding of the zone.”

Earlier than the battle, Gaza relied on 500 vehicles with provides coming into every day.

The U.N. Palestinian refugee company UNRWA stated on Friday that in February a mean of almost 97 vehicles have been in a position to enter Gaza every day, in contrast with about 150 a day in January.

Deliveries via the Rafah Crossing between Egypt and Gaza have been virtually halted. Whereas vehicles have generally handed via Israel’s Kerem Shalom crossing, they’ve been disrupted by Israeli protesters searching for to dam deliveries. UNRWA says the crossing was closed from Feb. 8-10 and Feb. 15-17.

With individuals consuming animal feed to outlive and medics saying kids are dying from malnutrition and dehydration, the U.N. has stated it faces “overwhelming obstacles” getting in support.

Gaza well being authorities stated Israeli forces killed greater than 100 individuals making an attempt to succeed in a reduction convoy close to Gaza Metropolis on Thursday. Palestinians face an more and more determined scenario almost 5 months into the battle.

Israel blamed many of the deaths on crowds that swarmed round support vehicles, saying victims had been trampled or run over. An Israeli official additionally stated troops had “in a restricted response” later fired on crowds they felt had posed a risk.

Israel says it’s dedicated to enhancing the humanitarian scenario in Gaza, and accuses Hamas militants of endangering Palestinian civilians by utilizing them as human shields.

Thursday’s incident close to Gaza Metropolis was the largest lack of civilian lives in weeks. Hamas stated it might jeopardize talks in Qatar geared toward securing a ceasefire and the discharge of Israeli hostages. Hopes had been rising of a truce earlier than the March 10 begin of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.


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