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War on Gaza: Faulty aid drop kills at least five Palestinians in Gaza City

Botched deliveries of humanitarian assistance fell at great speed in a busy neighbourhood, eyewitnesses said
A military plane drops humanitarian aid over northern Gaza on 7 March 2024 (AFP/Jack Guez)
A military plane drops humanitarian aid over northern Gaza on 7 March 2024 (AFP/Jack Guez)

At least five Palestinians were killed and one other wounded after a faulty aid drop in Gaza City on Friday. 

The casualties occurred following a botched attempt to drop humanitarian assistance from a plane, which ended up landing in a residential area in Sheikh Radwan, northwest of Gaza City, according to Al-Jazeera. 

Videos captured by local journalists showed over a dozen packages dropped from a plane falling at a great speed near the al-Fayrouz Towers area. 

The Palestinian media office in Gaza confirmed that five people had been killed, and criticised the use of air drops to deliver aid. 

"These operations are useless and not the best way to bring in aid, and we demand the opening of land crossings to bring in thousands of tons of aid immediately and urgently," it said. 

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"Dropping aid in this way takes on a showy and propaganda character rather than a humanitarian [one]," the media office added.

"We warned previously that they pose a death threat to the lives of citizens in the Gaza Strip, and that is what happened."

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An eyewitness told Al-Jazeera on Friday: "People were waiting for the drops when they noticed they were coming in fast. So a group of people took cover in a construction site." 

"One of the packages fell atop the site, causing it to collapse, killing and wounding people inside. I rushed to help the people inside when I realised my cousin was among them. He is now dead."

Airdropping aid is used when all other alternatives fail, and when a population desperately needs life-saving aid while it is cut off from the world. 

So far, JordanEgypt, the United Arab Emirates, and France have coordinated with Israel to airdrop aid in different areas of the blockaded Gaza Strip. 

The US on Sunday carried out its first humanitarian aid airdrop in Gaza with more than 30,000 meals parachuted in by three military planes. The operation was reportedly carried out jointly with Jordan's air force. 

Palestinians have said that airdropped aid quantities are too small in comparison to the needs of a starving population in Gaza. 

"It is pointless," Ahmad Mansour, a Palestinian in the south of Gaza, told Middle East Eye earlier this week. "A lot of the aid ended up in the sea or areas controlled by the Israeli army. You have got thousands of people running towards a few parcels of aid. They are playing games with us.

"I cannot understand why the world cannot pressure Israel to allow humanitarian aid trucks in.

"Why can humanitarian aid workers not be protected to distribute the aid fairly? Is the new motto: 'We will eat and get medicine only if we are lucky enough to catch something falling from the sky'?"

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