1709074111 Israel Hamas War Live Updates Biden39s Early Ceasefire Claim Gaza Gets

Israel-Hamas War Live Updates: Biden's Early Ceasefire Claim, Gaza Gets Aid

Jordan stepped up coordination with international partners this week to airdrop food and other supplies to the people of Gaza. This is a challenging effort that underscores the urgent need in Gaza, as aid agencies have warned of increasing restrictions on their ability to distribute aid.

Planes from the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and France took part in a Jordanian airdrop operation along the Gaza coast on Tuesday, the Jordanian military said in a statement. It was the first time Egypt airdropped aid into Gaza since the war began, and it also appeared to be a first for the United Arab Emirates

Jordanian and French planes also dropped aid on Monday, distributing prepared meals and other aid across several locations in the Gaza Strip, the Jordanian military said.

Aid agencies typically drop deliveries by air only as a last resort, as the method is inefficient and relatively costly compared to deliveries by road, and navigating the airspace over a conflict zone is fraught with danger and risk to people who may be hit could occur if supplies fall to the ground if a safe drop zone cannot be established.

Some of the aid delivered on Monday was dropped over the sea with parachutes, but the Jordanian military said some of the supplies were dropped without parachutes on Tuesday, forcing planes to fly at lower altitudes.

VideoVideo player is loadingLarge crowds gathered along the coast in Deir al Balah on Monday as Jordan and France airdropped food and other aid, some of which landed in the sea. Photo credit: Alaa Fayad, via X

Despite the restrictions on airdrops, France said it would step up its cooperation with Jordan as the “humanitarian situation in Gaza is absolutely urgent,” according to a statement from the French Foreign Ministry.

“As more and more civilians in Gaza die of hunger and disease,” the statement said, more avenues for aid delivery must be created, including the port of Ashdod in Israel, north of Gaza.

Video footage on Monday showed a group of parachutes falling into the sea near Deir al Balah, a city in central Gaza. Men in small boats paddled out through choppy waters to retrieve the supplies, watched by a crowd of hundreds searching for the packages once they reached shore.

Alaa Fayad, a veterinary student who photographed the beach scene and posted it online, said the help wasn't worth much. “It was sad to see people I know well running and pushing to get help that is nowhere near enough,” he said.

The French Air Force plane that took part in Monday's drop, along with three planes from its Jordanian counterpart, dropped more than two tons of food and hygiene products, the French Foreign Ministry said.

This amount is far less than what can be transported in a single truckload of supplies and, in total, represents only a fraction of what the United Nations needs for Gaza's more than two million residents.

VideoVideo player is loadingJordanian planes used parachutes to drop food and medical supplies into the central and southern Gaza Strip. People were seen using rowboats to collect relief supplies thrown into the sea. Photo credit: Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Portal

Jordan began airdropping aid in November and has since carried out more than a dozen missions, mostly to supply its field hospitals in Gaza. At least one airdrop mission was carried out with France in January, one with the Netherlands in February and one last week with help from Britain.

In previous airdrops, Jordan said it coordinated its efforts with Israeli authorities, who insisted on screening all aid entering Gaza. The Israeli military confirmed it had authorized the airdrop on Monday.

Calls for internationally coordinated airdrops are growing louder as aid groups warn that Gaza's hunger crisis is reaching a tipping point and that some barriers to traditional aid distribution have become insurmountable.

Last week, the World Food Program suspended food deliveries to the northern Gaza Strip, saying it could not operate safely despite the extreme needs there given the shooting and “collapse of civil order” in recent days. The WFP and other United Nations aid agencies have repeatedly warned that their access to northern Gaza is being systematically hindered by Israeli authorities and called on the government to ease its restrictions. Israel has denied blocking aid shipments.

The suspension of WFP deliveries in an area where they are most needed suggests that airdrops, despite their many limitations, may be one of the few remaining options to quickly get food to northern Gaza, according to Ahmed Fouad Alkhatib, a Middle East political analyst who grew up in the enclave. Jordan's airdrops set a “critical precedent” for the viability of the approach, he said.

“The mere desire for a ceasefire or simply for better Israeli cooperation is not enough,” said Mr Fouad Alkhatib. “We need action now.”

Matthew Mpoke Bigg and Nader Ibrahim contributed reporting.