Gaza aid drop in sea leads to drownings

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Gaza’s Hamas-run government media office says 18 Palestinians have been killed while trying to collect desperately-needed aid that was airdropped over northern Gaza.

Twelve people drowned when they went into the sea to retrieve food packages, the other six were trampled to death in “stampedes” when other aid packages landed on the ground, a statement said.

It calls for “an immediate end” to airdrops, calling them “offensive, wrong, inappropriate and useless”.

Video, obtained by Reuters, has emerged of Palestinians rushing to the coast after aid was dropped at a beach near the northern town of Beit Lahia on Monday.

It shows people running as dozens of aid packages attached to parachutes float down near the coast.

Israel – which is under pressure to allow more aid into Gaza via land – says it facilitated airdrops of 159 one-tonne packages of aid over northern Gaza on Monday.

The US says two C-17 aircraft dropped 46,000 “meals ready to eat” (MREs) over the north on Monday, while the UK says one of its A400M aircraft dropped 10 tonnes of water, rice, cooking oil, flour, tinned goods and baby formula.

Humanitarian organisations have warned that airdrops cannot meet the soaring need for food and the strategy has sparked considerable discussion.

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