newsIsrael at War

US airdrops first emergency food supplies into Gaza

The pallets contained water and more than 38,000 Meals Ready-to-Eat (MREs), the U.S. Air Force said, enough food to provide more than 50,000 meals.

Over 38,000 Meals Ready to Eat and water destined for an airdrop over Gaza are loaded aboard a U.S. Air Force C-130J Super Hercules at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia March 1, 2024. Credit: U.S. Air Force.
Over 38,000 Meals Ready to Eat and water destined for an airdrop over Gaza are loaded aboard a U.S. Air Force C-130J Super Hercules at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia March 1, 2024. Credit: U.S. Air Force.

U.S. military C-130J Super Hercules cargo planes parachuted pallets of food into the Gaza Strip on Saturday in what will reportedly be the first of many emergency aid drops authorized by the White House.

“The amount of aid flowing to Gaza is not nearly enough and we will continue to pull out every stop we can to get more aid in,” U.S. President Joe Biden tweeted on Saturday.

The pallets contained water and more than 38,000 Meals Ready-to-Eat (MREs), the U.S. Air Force said, enough food to provide more than 50,000 meals.

The food was dropped along the beach in southwest Gaza, reported AP.

The airdrop, which was assisted by the Royal Jordanian Air Force, took place between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. local time “to provide essential relief to civilians affected by the ongoing conflict,” tweeted U.S. Central Command.

Jordan has carried out sporadic airdrops of aid into Gaza for months. This week, it was joined by Egypt, France and the United Arab Emirates.

“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,” it added.

The assistance comes after more than 100 Gazans were killed during an aid riot on Al-Rashid Street, southwest of Gaza City on Thursday, according to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry.

An initial Israeli investigation found that most died from being crushed, run over or trampled, and that Israeli gunfire caused fewer than 10 injuries.

An attempt by Arab states to push through a U.N. Security Council statement on Thursday blaming Israel for the deaths failed when the U.S. blocked it.

Speaking alongside Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at a press briefing, Biden announced on Friday that the United States would begin airdrops to the Gaza Strip.

“We need to do more,” said Biden, referring to Thursday’s aid riot.

The president twice referred to “Ukraine” when he meant “Gaza.”

“In the coming days, we’re gonna join with our friends in Jordan and others in providing airdrops of additional food and supplies into Ukraine, and seek to continue to open up other avenues into Ukraine, including the possibility of a marine corridor to deliver large amounts of humanitarian assistance,” he said.

A U.S. Air Force loadmaster releases humanitarian aid pallets of food and water over the Gaza Strip on March 2, 2024. Credit: U.S. Air Force.

‘We won’t let up’

During the press conference, Biden added that he would press the Israeli government to allow the delivery of more aid.

“In addition to expanding deliveries by land, we’re going to insist that Israel facilitate more trucks and more routes to get more and more people the help they need,” Biden said. “No excuses. Because the truth is, aid flowing to Gaza is nowhere nearly enough. Innocent lives are on the line and children’s lives are on the line and we won’t stand by until we get more aid in there.”

“We should be getting hundreds of trucks in, not just several,” Biden added. “I won’t stand by. We won’t let up, and we’re gonna pull out every stop we can to get more assistance in.”

Samantha Power, the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, a government agency, said on Monday that the Biden administration wants to see 500 aid trucks entering Gaza daily, up from the current number of about 85.

Biden also said on Friday that his administration continues to press for an “immediate” six-week ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in exchange for the release of hostages and to allow a “surge” of aid to the entire Gaza Strip.

The president added that he hopes to have more information about a possible deal “shortly,” after he walked back his expectations that there might be a deal by Monday.

Meloni said that “the humanitarian crisis is our No. 1 priority” and that the United States, Italy and “regional actors” should “guarantee the two-state perspective” to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Neither leader took questions from the press.

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