Air support for US and Jordanian forces inside Gaza



CNN

The United States and Jordan have dropped humanitarian aid into Gaza, the U.S. Central Command said Saturday, a day after President Joe Biden insisted the United States would pull out “every stop” to get more aid into the besieged coastal enclave.

US C-130 aircraft dropped 38,000 meals on the Gaza Strip in a joint operation by the US Air Force and the Royal Jordanian Air Force, CENTCOM said in a statement.

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

“These airdrops are part of an ongoing effort to get more aid into Gaza, including by expanding the flow of aid through land routes and routes,” CENTCOM said.

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

“Today's airdrop was successful and an important test case to show that it can be successfully repeated in the coming days and weeks,” a senior administration official said during a call with reporters on Saturday.

The senior official added that the Defense Department plans to conduct additional airdrops into Gaza in the coming days, but declined to provide further details.

On Friday, Biden bemoaned the slow pace of aid into Gaza while announcing the upcoming airdrops. Speaking with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni in the Oval Office, Biden also said the United States was brokering a ceasefire that would allow more aid.

Biden said he was pushing for Israel to allow more trucks and routes for aid into Gaza.

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“We're going to insist that Israel get more trucks and more routes to get the help they need, no excuses,” Biden said. “Innocent lives are on the line, children's lives are on the line.”

Other countries, including the United Arab Emirates and France, have provided air support to Gaza. But Saturday's action will be a first for the United States.

Ahead of Saturday's announcement of action, many aid agencies criticized US plans to end food aid as futile, as the United Nations warned hundreds of thousands of Gazans were on the brink of starvation.

Richard Cowen, UN International Crisis Group 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 Camila DeChalus, Sophie Tanno and Samantha Waldenberg contributed to this report.

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