US and Jordan say they were not responsible

Five Palestinians killed in Gaza after aid airdrop malfunctions

A parachute on one of the humanitarian aid packages dropped into Gaza fails to open, leading to the package slamming into a building

An aircraft airdrops humanitarian aid over Gaza the northern Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, March 8, 2024. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)
An aircraft airdrops humanitarian aid over Gaza the northern Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, March 8, 2024. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

A medic at Gaza’s largest hospital said Friday a humanitarian airdrop in the north of the Palestinian territory killed five people and wounded 10.

The casualties were taken to Gaza City’s Al-Shifa hospital, the emergency room’s head nurse, Mohammed al-Sheikh, told AFP.

Sheikh said the deadly airdrop occurred north of the coastal Al-Shati refugee camp.

A witness from the camp told AFP he and his brother followed the parachuted aid in the hope of getting “a bag of flour.”

“Then, all of a sudden, the parachute didn’t open and [the package] fell down like a rocket on the roof of one of the houses,” said Mohammed al-Ghoul.

“Ten minutes later I saw people transferring three martyrs and others injured, who were staying on the roof of the house where the aid packages fell,” the 50-year-old told AFP.

Aid parcels are airdropped over the northern Gaza Strip on March 8, 2024. (AFP)

The United States and Jordan are among the countries to have carried out airdrops in northern Gaza, where hundreds of thousands of people are facing dire conditions after more than five months of war.

A US defense official told AFP that “the US did not cause the fatalities during our airdrop in Gaza.”

“We are aware of reports of civilians killed as a result of humanitarian airdrops. We express sympathies to the families of those who were killed,” said a statement from US Central Command. “Contrary to some reports, this was not the result of US airdrops.”

A Jordanian military source said none of the kingdom’s four aircraft that took part in the operation were involved in the fatalities.

“The technical defect that caused some parachutes carrying aid not to open and to fall freely to the ground during the airdrop on Gaza on Friday was not from a Jordanian aircraft,” the source said.

“The four Jordanian aircraft that carried out the airdrop in partnership with five other countries carried out its mission without any glitches.”

Referring to the five killed on Friday, the government media office in Hamas-run Gaza said airdrops were “futile” and “not the best way for aid to enter.”

The United Nations has said airdrops or a proposed maritime aid corridor cannot be a substitute for land deliveries, urging more trucks to be permitted to reach Gaza through more border crossings.

A Palestinian man transports sacks of humanitarian aid at the distribution center of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on March 3, 2024. (AFP)

Difficulties in distributing aid by ground routes led the United States and other countries to turn to airdropping assistance in addition to planning for maritime deliveries.

As part of the operation, a US military cargo plane airdropped more than 11,500 meals to Gaza on Friday in Washington’s fourth joint operation with Jordan this month to deliver aid.

“A US C-130 dropped over 11,500 meal equivalents, providing life-saving humanitarian assistance in northern Gaza, to enable civilian access to critical aid,” the US Central Command (CENTCOM) said of the joint operation.

Israel has been at war with Hamas in Gaza since the terrorist organization launched a cross-border attack on October 7 in which some 1,200 people, most of them civilians, were murdered and 253 were kidnapped.

The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza claims that almost 31,000 Palestinians have been killed by Israel in the war, but the number cannot be independently verified as it is believed to include both Hamas terrorists and civilians, some of whom were killed as a consequence of the terror group’s own rocket misfires.

The IDF says it has killed over 13,000 terrorists in Gaza, in addition to some 1,000 who were killed inside Israel on and immediately following October 7.

Vehicles transporting humanitarian aid drive along the Salaheddin road in the Zeitoun district on the southern outskirts of Gaza City on November 26, 2023. (Mahmud Hams/AFP)

The United States launched its first airdrop of food into Gaza on March 2, providing more than 38,000 meals, then dropped more than 36,000 on Tuesday and more than 38,000 on Thursday.

But the number of people in need of aid in Gaza is much greater than could be fed by airdrops alone, and US President Joe Biden announced Thursday that the US military will establish a temporary port off Gaza’s coast to bring in more assistance.

Most Popular
read more: