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UK air-drops life-saving aid into Gaza for first time amid Israeli blockade

Jordan Air Force air drops British aid packages after striking deal

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar
Thursday 22 February 2024 09:57 GMT
Related: Pro-Palestine protesters in Dublin call for Gaza ceasefire

The UK has air-dropped aid to war-torn Gaza for the first time in four months since Israel's offensive against Hamas began in October last year.

Four tonnes of aid supplies, including medicines, fuel and food, were dropped at an unreachable part of Gaza following a deal with Jordan.

The British aid packages were dropped at Tal Al-Hawa hospital in north Gaza by Jordanian Air Force aircraft, Britain's foreign office said on Wednesday.

The Jordanian military said this was its 12th aid drop into Gaza during the war.

"Thousands of patients will benefit and the fuel will enable this vital hospital to continue its life-saving work," British foreign secretary David Cameron said.

Aid that will be airdropped to a Jordanian field hospital in Gaza, seen here being loaded onto a plane in Zarqa, Jordan on Wednesday (via REUTERS)

The UK has previously sent aid to Gaza by land and sea but for the first time air-dropped aid to the northern part of the Gaza Strip which has been fortified by the Israeli army.

An estimated 300,000 Palestinians remain in the north of Gaza where UN agencies and aid groups have found it extremely difficult to deliver necessities. The Israeli military’s refusal to facilitate deliveries and the breakdown of order inside Gaza have made it increasingly difficult to bring vital aid to much of the besieged enclave.

The World Food Program (WFP) on Tuesday said it was forced to halt deliveries in north Gaza because of Israeli gunfire and “complete chaos and violence due to the collapse of civil order" in the region.

The British aid packages were dropped at Tal Al-Hawa hospital in north Gaza by Jordanian Air Force aircraft (via REUTERS)
The UK has previously sent aid to Gaza by land and sea (via REUTERS)

The WFP, which previously warned of famine-like conditions affecting the entire Strip, said its staff “witnessed unprecedented levels of desperation” in the north of Gaza.

The British foreign office said it signed an agreement with Jordan earlier this week to send £1m worth of aid to Gaza.

“The prime minister [Rishi Sunak] welcomed Jordan’s innovative efforts to deliver life-saving aid to Gaza by land and air, and he set out the UK’s work to unblock aid access and alleviate the humanitarian crisis," a Downing Street spokesperson said last week.

David Cameron called the situation in Gaza ‘desperate’ and said ‘significantly more aid is needed, and fast’ (via REUTERS)

Mr Sunak reportedly called on Israel to fully open the Kerem Shalom crossing to allow for the delivery of international aid in a call with Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"The situation in Gaza is desperate and significantly more aid is needed, and fast. We are calling for an immediate humanitarian pause to allow additional aid into Gaza as quickly as possible and bring hostages home," Lord Cameron said.

More than 29,000 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces since Hamas-led militants stormed into southern Israel on 7 October, killing some 1,200 people and taking around 250 hostage.

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