Arab and French forces drop aid along Gaza coast

Five planes from Jordan, Egypt and France delivered the crates of aid by parachute

Jordanian and French armies drop aid into Gaza

Jordanian and French armies drop aid into Gaza
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Jordanian and French air forces dropped aid parcels by parachute along Gaza's coast on Tuesday, the kingdom said, calling the operation a direct effort to help people in need.

The joint drop came at a time when US-led talks for a pause in the war were being held in Qatar and as Jordan sought support from its western allies to become a centre for delivering increased supplies to the besieged Palestinian enclave.

Three Jordanian planes, and one each from Egypt and France, took off from a base in the Zarqa area east of Amman.

The Jordanian army said the planes flew low to drop the parcels containing food, medicine and fuel.

King Abdullah II was present at the base before the planes took off to "affirm Jordan's continued standing with the Palestinian brothers", the army said.

The Jordanian air force has dropped aid into Gaza, meant for two Jordanian hospitals and a church, since November.

Several of these operations involved French and Dutch planes.

The French Foreign Ministry said this week that the “absolute” humanitarian emergency in Gaza required the opening of a land corridor from Jordan, which could become a “complementary” aid centre for the enclave.

In an earlier operation on Monday, a French C130 plane and three Jordanian aircraft dropped aid parcels along the Gaza coast, with France dropping 2.2 tonnes of food parcels and hygiene supplies.

The Jordanian army did not release details about its aircraft. But four C-130s can carry about 50 tonnes in total aid.

Jordan's King Abdullah on aid flight to Gaza - in pictures

According to the UN World Food Programme, 950 tonnes of aid would feed 488,000 people in Gaza, or one-fifth of its population, for one week.

A western military official said the planes dropped the crates of aid after flying to Gaza from the Mediterranean, and after obtaining Israeli clearance.

The Jordanian army said the drops on Monday were “aimed primarily at delivering aid directly to the inhabitants” of Gaza.

The French involvement showed “the important role of the kingdom in unifying international efforts” on aid for Gaza, army spokesman Brig Gen Mustafa Al Hiyari said.

Jordan signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1994. The kingdom's population of 10 million includes many people with Palestinian roots.

They are mostly descendants of Palestinians driven from their homes in 1948 and 1967 during conflict with Israel.

The latest war in Gaza started on October 7, when Hamas led attacks on southern Israel, leading to a major Israeli retaliation and invasion.

King Abdullah has repeatedly called for Israel to lift restrictions on aid.

On Tuesday, he told USAid administrator Samantha Power that aid to Gaza must be doubled and that world powers should put more pressure on Israel to allow more to enter the enclave, according to the Royal Palace.

Updated: February 28, 2024, 6:24 AM