Hamas urges halt to aid airdrops after two killed in north Gaza parachute failure

Terror group says total of 21 Palestinians killed by airdrop crashes, claims delivery method doesn’t ‘provide a real solution to alleviate the food crisis plaguing northern Gaza’

Humanitarian aid packages are dropped on the Gaza Strip on May 9, 2024. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP)
Humanitarian aid packages are dropped on the Gaza Strip on May 9, 2024. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP)

Hamas on Thursday called for an end to airdrops of aid after two Palestinians were killed in northern Gaza when an aid pallet crashed into a warehouse after its parachute failed to open.

Several countries, including the United States, Britain, Jordan and France, have resorted to regular aid airdrops in northern Gaza, where humanitarian agencies have warned of a looming famine amid the ongoing war, sparked by Hamas’s October 7 massacre.

Two people were killed on Tuesday when an aid parachute fell on the roof of a warehouse where residents had gathered to collect relief supplies, taking the total of people killed when airdrops of aid have gone wrong to at least 21, according to unverified figures from Hamas authorities in Gaza.

“We reiterate that airdrops pose a real danger to the lives of citizens and do not provide a real solution to alleviate the food crisis plaguing northern Gaza,” the head of the Hamas government’s media office in Gaza, Salama Marouf, said in a statement.

“We call for an immediate halt to the delivery of aid in this ineffective and erroneous manner, and we call for the full activation of the land crossings to deliver humanitarian aid to northern Gaza.”

With only a trickle of aid reaching the north and the United Nations warning of “imminent famine,” foreign governments have turned to airdrops to get aid into the territory.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, center, walks with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, center left, and UN Senior Humanitarian and Reconstruction Coordinator for Gaza, Sigrid Kaag, 2nd right, at the Kerem Shalom border crossing in Kerem Shalom, May 1, 2024. (Evelyn Hockstein/Pool Photo via AP)

Aid agencies say the situation deteriorated this week after Israeli forces closed the Rafah Border Crossing with Egypt after taking control of the Palestinian side of it on Tuesday morning.

Relief also has not been transferred into Gaza through the other main crossing between Israel and the Palestinian enclave, the Kerem Shalom Crossing, after it came under rocket fire three times since Sunday. A Hamas rocket attack from Rafah on the crossing on Sunday killed four Israel Defense Forces soldiers and wounded 10 others stationed nearby.

Meanwhile, a US container ship loaded with aid for Gaza left Cyprus Thursday in a new test of a maritime corridor to get relief into the besieged territory through a newly constructed offshore pier.

The US-flagged MV Sagamore left the port of Larnaca after being loaded with aid from Britain, Cyprus and the US, Cyprus government spokesperson Yiannis Antoniou told the official CNA news agency.

US military engineers have been assembling a temporary pier for installation on the Gaza coast to unload maritime aid deliveries.

US soldiers assemble the Roll-On, Roll-Off Distribution Facility (RRDF), or floating pier, off the shore of Gaza on April 26, 2024. (US Army via AP)

UN agencies and humanitarian aid groups have warned that maritime deliveries and airdrops cannot deliver aid in the quantities needed to avert acute food shortages for the 2.4 million people across Gaza.

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