US resumes airdrops of humanitarian assistance into northern Gaza

Resumption of aid shipments by air comes day after deliveries also restarted at US-built pier that was damaged by bad weather

Humanitarian aid is airdropped to Palestinians over Gaza City, Gaza Strip, March 25, 2024. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Essa)
Illustrative: Humanitarian aid is airdropped to Palestinians over Gaza City, Gaza Strip, March 25, 2024. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Essa)

An American cargo plane dropped more than 10 metric tons of rations into northern Gaza on Sunday, the US military said, after a suspension of such deliveries due to Israeli operations in the area.

The Gaza Strip’s population is in dire need of humanitarian assistance after eight months of devastating fighting between Israel and Hamas, and the United States turned to delivering it by air and sea as it pressed Israel to increase the amount of aid entering the enclave by land.

The air drop provided “life-saving humanitarian assistance in northern Gaza,” the US Central Command (CENTCOM) said in a statement.

“To date the US has airdropped more than 1,050 metric tons of humanitarian assistance” in addition to aid delivered via a temporary pier attached to the Gaza coast, it said.

“These airdrops are part of a sustained effort, and we continue to plan follow-on aerial deliveries,” CENTCOM added.

The Pentagon said in late May that factors including Israeli operations and weather conditions were affecting the drops, while deputy CENTCOM commander Vice Admiral Brad Cooper said Friday that they had been “suspended due to the kinetic operations happening in the north” but were expected to resume soon.

The latest airdrop came a day after aid deliveries were restarted via the pier, which was damaged by bad weather last month and had to be repaired in a nearby port before being reattached to the coast.

Trucks loaded with humanitarian aid from the United Arab Emirates and the United States Agency for International Development cross the Trident Pier before entering the beach in Gaza, May 17, 2024. (Staff Sgt. Malcolm Cohens-Ashley/US Army Central via AP)

Gaza is suffering through its bloodiest-ever war, which was started by Hamas’s devastating October 7 attack on Israel, during which Palestinian terrorists killed some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and took 251 hostages.

The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry says more than 37,000 people in the Strip have been killed or are presumed dead in the fighting so far. Of these, some 24,000 fatalities have been identified at hospitals or through self-reporting by families, with the rest of the figure based on Hamas “media sources.” The tolls, which cannot be verified, include some 15,000 terror operatives Israel says it has killed in battle. Israel also says it killed some 1,000 terrorists inside Israel on October 7.

295 soldiers and one police officer have been killed during the ground offensive against Hamas and amid operations along the Gaza border. A civilian Defense Ministry contractor has also been killed in the Strip.

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