US drops aid into war-torn Gaza as children die of malnutrition

US drops aid into war-torn Gaza as children die of malnutrition

Channel NewsAsia - Commentary·2024-03-03 06:00

GAZA CITY: Israel's top ally the United States said it began air-dropping aid into war-ravaged Gaza on Saturday, as the Hamas-ruled territory's health ministry reported more than a dozen child malnutrition deaths. The start of the US relief operation came hours after President Joe Biden, who has pushed Israel to allow more aid in, announced the move and spoke of the "need to do more" after nearly five months of devastating conflict. It also comes as negotiations continue for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, which has been under siege since Hamas's Oct 7 attacks on Israel. "We conducted a combined humanitarian assistance airdrop into Gaza" involving three US Air Force C-130 transport planes to provide "relief to civilians affected by the ongoing conflict," a US military official told AFP on condition of anonymity. US Central Command, in a post on social media platform X, said the operation was conducted together with Jordan and saw planes drop "over 38,000 meals along the coastline of Gaza allowing for civilian access to the critical aid".The dire humanitarian situation in Gaza has led to the deaths of at least 13 children from "malnutrition and dehydration" in recent days, according to the health ministry in the Hamas-run territory. In an incident that has thrown a spotlight on the crisis, dozens of Palestinians were killed before dawn on Thursday in a chaotic rush for aid from a convoy of trucks in Gaza City. The Gaza health ministry said Israeli forces shot them but the Israeli army insisted most died in a stampede or crush. A United Nations team that visited the city's Al-Shifa Hospital reported seeing "a large number" of gunshot wounds among Palestinians in the aftermath of the aid truck incident. The health ministry said 116 people were killed and more than 750 wounded in the incident, which drew widespread international condemnation.


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