HomeWorld NewsU.S. plans more airdrops into Gaza amid hope for Ramadan cease-fire

U.S. plans more airdrops into Gaza amid hope for Ramadan cease-fire

The United States says it plans to airdrop more food aid into Gaza, after completing its first successful drop on Saturday, parachuting in packages that contained more than 38,000 meals intended to help alleviate hunger in the besieged enclave.

The operation marked an expansion of the United States’ direct role in addressing a growing humanitarian crisis in Gaza — where a lack of food and acute hunger have forced some people to eat weeds and animal feed — though aid groups have warned that the airdrops are insufficient for the enormous need.

The U.S. Air Force and Royal Jordanian Air Force worked together to drop bundles of ready-to-eat halal meals along the Gaza coastline to allow for civilian access, Central Command said. Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and France have also carried out aerial aid deliveries in recent days.

Centcom said it was “conducting planning for potential follow-on airborne aid delivery missions,” as U.S. officials said they were planning additional airdrops into Gaza and exploring new ways to get desperately needed assistance into the Hamas-controlled enclave, including by sea.

Dropping aid from planes is expensive and inefficient. Why do it?

Israel Defense Forces spokesman Daniel Hagari said Sunday that the IDF coordinated with the United States and Jordan to facilitate the airdrop, calling it an “important effort.”

The number of trucks carrying food and essential items into Gaza has plunged in recent weeks following Israeli airstrikes that have targeted police officers who guard the convoys. Aid groups such as the World Food Program have also suspended deliveries to the north, where the need is greatest, citing lack of security.

The United Nations says 1 in 4 people in Gaza face “catastrophic levels of food insecurity.” Gaza’s Health Ministry said Sunday that 15 children died from malnutrition and dehydration at Kamal Adwan Hospital in northern Gaza. The Washington Post could not independently verify the report.

Meanwhile, talks on a cease-fire proposal are ongoing.

There is “a deal on the table” that Israel has “more or less accepted” and is awaiting a response from Hamas, a State Department official said during a Saturday briefing to journalists, under the condition of anonymity set by the State Department. The proposal calls for increased aid deliveries on the ground and a six-week pause in fighting, during which sick, wounded, female and elderly hostages in Gaza would be released. U.S. officials hope a cease-fire can begin before the holy month of Ramadan, which is set to start around March 10.

Israel will not send a high-level delegation to Egypt for more cease-fire talks until Hamas gives a response, an Israeli official with knowledge of the negotiations told The Post, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive talks.

Gaza’s desperate hunger: Families struggle to fend off starvation

Last week, at least 118 people were killed and 760 injured, the Gaza Health Ministry said, when a crowd converged on an aid convoy. Palestinian officials, eyewitnesses and doctors said Israeli troops fired on the crowd, leading to the carnage.

The Israel Defense Forces said its troops fired only warning shots that were not directed at the convoy. On Saturday, Hagari said an initial review found that “no strike was carried out by the IDF towards the aid convoy” and that most of the Palestinian casualties were the result of a stampede. The Post could not independently verify the IDF’s findings.

Here’s what else to know

Vice President Harris will meet with Israeli war cabinet member Benny Gantz at the White House on Monday. The meeting is part of broader efforts by the Biden administration to speak with a range of Israeli officials and plan for the “day after” the war, according to a White House official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an event that has not been publicly announced.

Eleven people, including a medical worker, were killed and about 50 people injured in an Israeli strike in an area that held tents for displaced people near Rafah’s Emirati maternity hospital on Saturday, the Gaza Health Ministry said in a post on social media. The Israel Defense Forces confirmed the strike to the The Post, saying it had targeted “terrorists and terror infrastructure.”

Italy’s Defense Ministry said its naval ship Duilio shot down an approaching drone in the Red Sea. The drone was less than four miles away and had characteristics similar to those used in previous attacks, the Saturday statement said. “The Houthi terrorist attacks are a serious violation of international law and an attack on the safety of maritime traffic,” Defense Minister Guido Crosetto said.

At least 30,410 people have been killed and 71,700 injured in Gaza since the war began, according to the Gaza Health Ministry, which does not distinguish between civilians and combatants. Israel estimates that about 1,200 people were killed in Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack and says 245 soldiers have been killed since the start of its military operation in Gaza.

Missy Ryan, Karen DeYoung, Yasmeen Abutaleb and Dan Lamothe contributed to this report.

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