US carries out first air aid drop to Gaza with 38,000 meals

US carries out first air aid drop to Gaza with 38,000 meals

The US has carried out its first air drop of aid in Gaza in an operation with the Jordanian air force.

More than 30,000 meals were parachuted into the war torn zone.

The US Central Command announced the drop of vital supplies with to the territory which is short of food and medicines.

US President Joe Biden announced on Friday that there would be a series of drops.

He pledged to increase aid deliveries to Gaza after the death of over 100 people seeking aid from a convoy on Thursday.

C-130 military planes dropped more than 38,000 meals along the coastline of Gaza.

US Central Command said in a statement: "These airdrops are part of a sustained effort to get more aid into Gaza, including by expanding the flow of aid through land corridors and routes.”

Other countries including Britain, France, Egypt and Jordan have previously airdropped aid into Gaza, but this is the first by the US.

In his statement on Friday, President Biden said the US would "insist that Israel facilitate more trucks and more routes to get more and more people the help they need".

On Thursday 112 people were killed and more than 760 injured as they crowded around aid lorries.

People watch as U.S. military carries out its first aid drop over Gaza, (REUTERS)
People watch as U.S. military carries out its first aid drop over Gaza, (REUTERS)

Hamas has accused Israel of firing at civilians but Israel said most died in a crush after it fired warning shots.

There are mounting calls for an international investigation of the deaths.

Britain on Friday demanded an urgent probe into the deaths of more than 100 Palestinians killed in a crowd of people desperately trying to obtain aid from a convoy of trucks in Gaza.

Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron also emphasised that people must be held accountable for the fatalities.

In a statement issued on Friday afternoon, he said: “The deaths of people in Gaza waiting for an aid convoy yesterday were horrific.

There must be an urgent investigation and accountability. This must not happen again.”

He also stressed: “We can’t separate what happened yesterday from the inadequate aid supplies.

“In February only half the number of trucks crossed into Gaza that did in January.

“This is simply unacceptable.”

He added: “This tragedy only serves to underscore the importance of securing an immediate humanitarian pause. A sustained pause in the fighting is the only way to get lifesaving aid in at the scale needed and free the hostages cruelly held by Hamas.”

Israel came under pressure on Friday for a neutral probe into the deaths.

The US reportedly blocked a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning Israel for the pre-dawn deaths in northern Gaza early on Thursday, arguing it was too early to apportion blame.

Israel denied witness accounts that its soldiers had opened fire on the civilians, insisting some died in a stampede while others were run over by reversing trucks.

But with more than 30,000 people now killed in Gaza since the Israel-Hamas war began, UN Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was "shocked" and said the latest killings would require an effective independent investigation.