Gazan man drowns while trying to retrieve aid from sea, authorities say

Gaza authorities said on Tuesday that several people drowned while trying to retrieve airdropped aid that had fallen into the Mediterranean Sea, but in this case the airdrop apparently caused the deaths. They called for an end to air drops over the territory and an increase in land deliveries.

Ahmed Abu Kamal, a researcher at the Gaza-based human rights organization Euromed Rights, said he spoke with witnesses and said people were heading into the sea from a beach in northern Gaza to receive aid on Monday afternoon. Has entered. He said about 12 people drowned, including at least one who was entangled in a parachute. The others were taken to nearby hospitals.

The Gaza government media office issued a statement about the drowning, but could not independently confirm the details.

The United Nations and other aid groups say trucks, rather than planes, are the cheapest, safest and most effective way to deliver aid to Gaza. More than 2 million people in the Gaza Strip are facing a famine crisis, with humanitarian organizations saying they are on the brink of starvation. .

But in recent weeks, governments including the United States, France, Jordan and Egypt have used airlift to supplement aid arriving by land, while urging Israel to accept more trucks.

Airdrops are not without risks. Gaza authorities announced earlier this month that at least five Palestinians were killed and several others injured during a humanitarian operation in Gaza City.

It is not clear which country dropped the aid that fell into the sea on Monday, but the U.S. Central Command announced it had carried out the airdrop shortly after noon.

The United States “dropped more than 46,000 ready-to-eat rice meals to northern Gaza, an area of ​​critical need, allowing civilians access to critical aid,” the report said. Ta. the statement said. “These air drops are part of our ongoing efforts and we plan to continue air deliveries in the future.”

A Centcom spokesperson declined to comment Tuesday on the death report. Israeli authorities did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

British Defense Secretary Grant Shapps said on social media on Tuesday that his country: Airdrop of 10 tons He expressed his support for Gaza and thanked Jordan for its assistance. The post did not provide details about when or where the drop took place.

Governments say the cuts are necessary because the amount of aid flowing into Gaza has fallen sharply since October 7, when Hamas led a deadly attack on Israel. According to UN data, Number of rescue vehicles Since then, the number of people entering Gaza has fallen by about 75 percent. One charity, World Central Kitchen, delivered a large amount of aid to Gaza earlier this month.

Governments and aid groups say Israel is slowing aid deliveries through strict inspections of trucks. Israeli officials have criticized UNRWA, the U.N. aid agency that helps Palestinians, arguing that Israel can inspect and process aid trucks faster than humanitarian groups can distribute aid within the territory.

Abu Bakr Bashir and Adam Serra Reports contributed

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