US will drop aid into Gaza, Biden says

President says Washington is still working on a ceasefire agreement to get more aid in

Joe Biden announces plan to airdrop aid into Gaza

Joe Biden announces plan to airdrop aid into Gaza
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US President Joe Biden announced on Friday that he will order the US military to drop aid into Gaza amid growing international concern over the expanding humanitarian disaster in the besieged enclave.

The President announced the move after at least 115 Palestinians were killed and about 760 injured as they waited to receive aid on Thursday, Gaza’s Health Ministry said.

Witnesses said nearby Israeli troops opened fire at the crowds as they approached the aid lorries.

“In the coming days, we are going to join with our friends from Jordan and others to provide air drops of supplies into [Gaza] and seek to open up other avenues into [Gaza], including the possibility of a marine corridor delivering large amounts of humanitarian assistance,” Mr Biden said during remarks in the Oval Office, before a meeting with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.

The announcement comes nearly five months into an Israeli military campaign in the enclave which, according to local officials, has killed more than 30,000 Palestinians and reduced entire neighbourhoods to rubble.

It also comes amid growing international concerns over the worsening humanitarian crisis in Gaza, where only a trickle of aid coming in has pushed hundreds of thousands of people close to starvation.

Reports have emerged that people have resorted to eating animal feed, and that children were dying of hunger.

At least 576,000 people in Gaza are one step away from famine, the UN said in a recent report.

The situation has been even worse in the north of Gaza, where aid has not arrived in weeks.

Mr Biden called Thursday's events “tragic and alarming”.

“The loss of life is heartbreaking,” Mr Biden said. “People are so desperate that innocent people got caught in a terrible war unable to feed their families and you saw the response when they tried to get aid in.”

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said that the US is planning several airdrops in co-ordination with Jordan, and that Thursday's events underscored the need to find alternative routes of getting humanitarian assistance to people in Gaza.

“We will learn from the first airdrops and this will be a part of a sustained effort,” Mr Kirby told reporters during a briefing.

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

“This isn't going to be one and done, there will be additional airdrops planned and executed.

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

Israel launched its war on Gaza on October 7, the day Hamas fighters attacked Israel, killing 1,140, according to officials.

The Biden administration has supported Israel's right to retaliate against Hamas in Gaza, but has been increasingly frustrated in recent weeks with the delay in getting humanitarian aid into the enclave – and over the dire consequences that have ensued.

“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. No excuses, because the truth is aid flowing to Gaza is nowhere nearly enough now – it's nowhere nearly enough,” Mr Biden said.

“Innocent lives are on the line and children's lives are on the line.”

Earlier this week, Mr Biden said he was optimistic that a ceasefire deal could be reached by Monday.

On Friday, he said that the US is still trying to work on a deal that would last at least six weeks during which hostages held by Hamas could be released and aid could be distributed throughout the Gaza Strip.

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Updated: March 02, 2024, 4:38 AM