Military aircraft from 5 countries drop aid over Gaza

AFP , Sunday 10 Mar 2024

Military planes parachuted aid over Gaza on Sunday, an AFP photographer said, the latest airdrop over the besieged territory's north where famine looms more than five months into the Israeli war on Gaza.

 Aid parcels being airdropped over the northern Gaza Strip
A general view taken from the Israeli side of the border shows aid parcels being airdropped over the northern Gaza Strip on Tuesday. Belgium sent a military transport plane Monday to join an international operation to airdrop aid into Gaza also involving the United States, France and Jordan, officials said. AFP


The photographer, on board a Jordanian military plane, saw hundreds of Palestinians rushing to receive the falling pallets of basic supplies.

The Jordanian army said in a statement that US, French, Belgian, and Egyptian planes also participated in the relief operation that included "six joint airdrops in the northern parts of Gaza".

Jordan has conducted 37 unilateral airdrop operations and another 40 "in collaboration with partner nations" during the war, the army said.

Over three hours across northern Gaza on Sunday, the AFP journalist saw hundreds of people, including men, women, and children, running and looking up as soon as they heard the sound of the planes above, waiting for the pallets to land.

Looking out from the plane, the photographer could also see massive destruction below.

The United Nations says that the vast majority of Gaza's 2.4 million people are on the brink of famine, particularly in the north where Israeli restrictions have hampered overland aid access.

The health ministry in the territory said at least 23 people, almost all of them children, have recently died of malnutrition and dehydration.

Aid groups say only a fraction of the supplies required to meet basic humanitarian needs have been allowed into Gaza since October.

Humanitarian workers and UN officials have said easing overland access of aid trucks into the Gaza Strip would be more effective than airdrops or maritime shipments to alleviate the dire crisis.

Since Oct.7, Israel's military campaign has killed at least 31,045 people in Gaza, the majority women and children, according to the territory's health ministry.

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