The US military has begun withdrawing aid to Gaza amid warnings that the war-torn nation faces the threat of famine as Israel continues its brutal bombing campaign.
American cargo planes dropped 38,000 meals to the besieged territory on Saturday.
This is part of a series of launches planned by Washington, which also continues to send support to Israel.
The United Nations has warned that Gaza is dangerously close to famine and more than 100 people died earlier this week after Israeli forces opened fire on crowds rushing to receive food from a convoy of trucks.
President Joe Biden announced the impending airdrops on Friday amid growing political pressure over the plight of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
The US military has begun withdrawing aid to Gaza amid warnings that the war-torn nation faces the threat of famine.
US cargo planes dropped 38,000 meals to the besieged territory on Saturday
It comes as part of a series of launches planned by Washington, which also continues to send support to Israel’s sustained bombing campaign.
‘The US Central Command and the Royal Jordanian Air Force conducted a combined humanitarian assistance airdrop in Gaza on March 2, 2024, between 3:00 and 5:00 pm (Gaza time) to provide essential relief to civilians affected by the ongoing conflict. ‘, said the US military command on social networks.
CENTCOM said U.S. C-130 military cargo planes “dropped more than 38,000 meals along the Gaza coast, allowing civilian access to critical aid.”
The airdrops are “part of a sustained effort to bring more aid to Gaza, including by expanding the flow of aid through corridors and land routes,” the command added.
A CENTCOM official said the drop was due to U.S. military rations that did not contain pork, the consumption of which is prohibited by Islam.
The Palestinian militant group Hamas carried out an unprecedented attack on Israel on October 7, resulting in the deaths of some 1,160 people. Hamas also took about 250 hostages, 130 of whom still remain in Gaza.
Israel responded with a relentless assault on Hamas-controlled Gaza that has taken a devastating toll on civilians trapped there, killing more than 30,000 people, according to the territory’s Health Ministry.
The amount of aid arriving in Gaza by truck has plummeted during nearly five months of war, and Gazans face severe shortages of food, water and medicine.
The United Nations has accused Israeli forces of “systematically” blocking access to Gaza, which Israel denies.
Smoke rises following Israeli airstrikes in the northern Gaza Strip, March 1, 2024. More than 30,200 Palestinians and more than 1,300 Israelis have been killed, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry and the Israel Defense Forces. (IDF)
Palestinians queue for hours to receive food distributed by charitable organizations, in Deir Balah, Gaza, on March 1, 2024.
‘US Central Command and the Royal Jordanian Air Force conducted a combined humanitarian assistance airdrop in Gaza on March 2, 2024, between 3:00 and 5:00 pm (Gaza time)
American C-130s dropped more than 38,000 meals along the Gaza coast, allowing civilian access to critical aid.
Some foreign militaries have airdropped supplies into Gaza, sending long lines of pallets of aid floating by parachute into the war-torn territory.
Jordan has been carrying out many of the operations with support from countries including Britain, France and the Netherlands, while Egypt sent several military aircraft in an airdrop on Thursday alongside the United Arab Emirates.
Biden has pressured Israel to reduce civilian casualties and allow aid in, while at the same time maintaining military assistance for the key US ally.
National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Friday that the United States planned to conduct multiple airdrops over a period of weeks, which “will be a complement, not a replacement, for moving things over the ground.”
He described it as a “tough military operation” that required careful planning by the Pentagon for the safety of both Gaza civilians and US military personnel.
“It is extremely difficult to conduct an airdrop in an environment as populated as Gaza is,” Kirby said, adding, “This is a war zone.” Therefore, there is an added element of potential danger to the pilots of the aircraft.’