US and Jordanian forces drop air aid into Gaza



CNN

The US and Jordan have airdropped humanitarian aid to Gaza, US Central Command announced on Saturday, a day after President Joe Biden confirmed the US would pull out “every stop” to deliver more aid to the besieged coastal enclave.

The US Central Command said in a statement that the joint operation carried out by the US Air Force and the Royal Jordanian Air Force witnessed US C-130 aircraft dropping 38,000 meals along the Gaza coast.

A US official said 66 packages were dropped, 22 from each of the three planes. There was no water or medical supplies in the packages.

US Central Command said: “These airdrops are part of an ongoing effort to deliver more aid to Gaza, including by expanding the flow of aid via land corridors and routes.”

White House officials described Saturday's operation as “successful.”

“The fact that today’s airdrop was successful is an important test case to show that we are able to do it again in the coming days and weeks successfully,” a senior administration official said during a call with reporters on Saturday.

The senior official added that the Ministry of Defense is planning to conduct additional airdrops in Gaza in the coming days, but he refused to provide further details.

After the airdrop on Saturday, Biden he said on social media The amount of aid flowing to Gaza is “not nearly enough” and that the United States “will continue to do everything we can to obtain more aid.”

These comments echo Biden's statements the previous day when he expressed his regret at the slow pace of aid to Gaza. Speaking alongside Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni in the Oval Office, Biden also said the United States was working to broker a ceasefire that would allow for additional aid.

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Biden said on Friday that he “will insist” that Israel allow more trucks and aid routes into Gaza.

“We will insist that Israel facilitate more trucks and more roads to provide more and more people with the assistance they need, without any excuses,” the president said. “Innocent lives are at stake, children's lives are at stake.”

Other countries, including the United Arab Emirates and France, dropped air aid into Gaza. But Saturday's operation was the first of its kind for the United States.

Before Saturday's operation was announced, several aid agencies criticized US plans to drop food aid as ineffective, while the United Nations warned that hundreds of thousands of Gazans were on the brink of starvation.

Richard Gowan, UN Director of the International Crisis Group he said on social media“Humanitarian workers always complain that airdrops are good photo opportunities but a poor way to deliver aid.”

This story and headline have been updated with additional information.

CNN's Camilla DeChalos and Sophie Tanno contributed to this report.

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