British RAF airdrops food into Gaza for first time

Defence Secretary urges Israel to allow more aid into Palestinian territory

Humanitarian aid is dropped into Gaza from an RAF A400M aircraft on Tuesday. Ministry of Defence / PA
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Britain's Royal Air Force parachuted more than 10 tonnes of aid – including water, rice, cooking oil, flour, tinned goods and baby formula – to Palestinians in Gaza on Monday for the first time during the conflict.

The Ministry of Defence said an RAF A400M aircraft flew from Amman to drop the supplies along Gaza’s northern coastline as part of a Jordanian-led international aid mission.

British Defence Secretary Grant Shapps authorised the aid drop after an assessed reduction in threat to the military mission and risk to civilians.

“The UK has already tripled our aid budget to Gaza, but we want to go further in order to reduce human suffering," Mr Shapps said.

"Today’s airdrop has provided a further way to deliver humanitarian support and I thank the RAF personnel involved in this essential mission, as well as our Jordanian partners for their leadership.

“The hell that was unleashed by the October 7 Hamas attack has led to wide-scale innocent loss of life.

"The UK’s goal is to use every route possible to deliver life-saving aid, whether that is by road, air or new routes via the sea.

“We also continue to call on Israel to provide port access and open more land crossings in order to increase incoming aid deliveries to Gaza.”

The aid delivery came on the day the UK backed a UN Security Council call for a ceasefire in Gaza during Ramadan.

The National boards an aircraft dropping aid over Gaza

The National boards an aircraft dropping aid over Gaza

Downing Street said the Security Council resolution – the first calling for a halt to the fighting to be passed – sent a clear message that the hostages held by Hamas should be released and aid should be allowed in to Gaza.

Amid warnings of an imminent famine in the war-torn Gaza Strip, the aid drop followed recent land deliveries of 2,000 tonnes of UK food aid to feed more than 275,000 people in the territory.

Monday’s delivery was the UK’s first mission delivering humanitarian aid by parachute, although Britain has previously supported international aid drops, providing about 600 parachutes at the request of Jordan and Bahrain.

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Updated: March 26, 2024, 12:00 PM