US military planes begin dropping humanitarian aid over Gaza

Three US military cargo planes dropped food into the Gaza Strip on Saturday, a senior official confirmed to AFP, as the Palestinian territory faces a growing humanitarian crisis after months of conflict.

“We conducted a combined airdrop of humanitarian assistance into Gaza,” an official from the US Central Command in the region (Centcom) said on condition of anonymity. Three U.S. Air Force C-130s conducted operations to “provide assistance to civilians affected by the ongoing conflict.”

The planes dropped “a total of 66 packages of non-pork meals,” the official said, adding that he did not yet have figures on the total tonnage.

President Joe Biden announced a day earlier that the United States would begin airlifting aid to Gaza after an Israeli attack killed more than 100 Palestinians on Thursday when they surrounded an aid convoy.

That incident left dozens of desperate Palestinians dead as they rushed to join a convoy in northern Gaza, which has been under military siege since Hamas attacked Israel on October 7 and where the United Nations has warned of a humanitarian crisis and severe famine .

Biden has pressured Israel to reduce civilian casualties and allow aid into Gaza, while maintaining military support for this traditional U.S. ally.

U.S. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Friday that the United States was planning multiple airdrops that would last weeks.

He described it as a “difficult military operation” that required careful planning by the Pentagon to protect both Gaza civilians and U.S. military personnel.

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