Jordan vows to continue Gaza aid efforts after assisting first US aid drop

US and Jordanian C-130 planes parachuted packages containing 38,000 meals into besieged Palestinian territory on Saturday

US service members secure humanitarian aid on to a cargo aircraft in preparation for an air drop over Gaza. AFP
Powered by automated translation

Live updates: Follow the latest news on Israel-Gaza

Jordan is working on delivering more aid to Gaza to prevent its population from starving, Foreign Minister Ayaman Al Safadi said on Sunday after the kingdom took part in the first US air drop of aid into the besieged Palestinian enclave.

The US air force, in co-operation with the Jordanian air force, on Saturday dropped 38,000 meals as part of US President Joe Biden's declared intention to provide emergency humanitarian assistance to Gaza.

"We are facing today the the biggest challenge in our region, which is the continuation of the savage Israeli aggression against Gaza," Mr Al Safadi told a meeting of the Gulf Co-operation Council in Riyadh.

Jordan "is working to stop this aggression and to deliver enough aid for more than 2.3 million Palestinians facing starvation", he said.

"Israel is still preventing the arrival of enough aid," Mr Al Safadi said.

More than 30,400 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have been killed and the majority of its 2.3 million population displaced by Israel's military offensive in Gaza.

The war started on October 7, when Hamas and other militant groups from Gaza attacked southern Israel, killing about 1,200 people, mostly civilians. The militants also took about 240 Israeli hostages, including women and children.

Continuing talks

The US air drop occurred on the eve of a new round of talks in Egypt to mediate a truce in Gaza before the start of Ramadan. Differences between Israel and Hamas over several key issues were still unresolved, according to sources briefed on the process.

Israel still enjoys US support in its offensive on Gaza, although Washington has been increasingly critical of its conduct in the war.

The US military announced that three aircraft dropped supplies “along the coastline of Gaza” on Saturday, with plans for further deliveries.

The US administration cautioned that air drops were "part of a sustained effort" for delivery but not a substitute for ground transportation of humanitarian aid.

“This isn't going to be one and done, there will be additional air drops planned and executed," “White House spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Saturday.

“We're also going to redouble our efforts to open up a humanitarian maritime corridor for the entry of humanitarian assistance into Gaza.”

Saturday's operation involved US Air Force and Royal Jordanian Air Force C-130 planes, carried out by soldiers specialised in the aerial delivery of supplies. Bundles of the meals were dropped on pallets with small parachutes.

It came a day after Mr Biden announced the start of such humanitarian deliveries to address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

This came after an incident in which more than 100 Palestinians were killed during an encounter with Israeli troops, who opened fire as civilians made towards an aid convoy on Thursday.

Joe Biden announces plan to airdrop aid into Gaza

Joe Biden announces plan to airdrop aid into Gaza

The dire humanitarian situation in Gaza has led to the deaths of at least 13 children from malnutrition and dehydration, according to the Health Ministry in Gaza.

With continuing negotiations for a ceasefire and the continuous evaluation of aid delivery methods, international powers remain focused on mitigating the humanitarian crisis in Gaza while seeking a path towards a resolution, as civilian casualties mount.

Deadly convoy incident

Last week, Gaza's Health Ministry said Israeli troops had opened fire near a food convoy, killing 118 people and leaving 760 injured. The incident drew international condemnation and calls for an independent inquiry.

Israel denied its forces shot into the crowd, but in the aftermath Hamas have been considering a freeze on negotiations.

On Saturday the Israeli military promised an investigation into the incident.

Israel said most victims were trampled or run over as crowds swarmed aid lorries. An Israeli official also said troops had “in a limited response” later fired on individuals they felt had posed a threat.

At least 100 people have died while waiting for aid in Northern Gaza

At least 100 people have died while waiting for aid in Northern Gaza

“We have all the documentation that we need in order to carry out an exhaustive, truthful investigation into the facts of this incident and we will present our findings,” Israeli military spokesman Admiral Daniel Hagari told reporters in Tel Aviv.

“It was a humanitarian operation we were running and the claim that we deliberately attacked the convoy and deliberately harmed people is completely baseless,” Admiral Hagari said. He added that it was the fourth such operation in that area.

Additional reporting by Khaled Yacoub Oweis in Amman

Updated: March 03, 2024, 5:06 PM