Joe Biden announces that US is set to begin aid airdrops to Gaza

US President Joe Biden has revealed that the US will begin air-dropping humanitarian assistance into Gaza, a day after dozens of Palestinians were killed during a chaotic encounter with Israeli troops.

The President announced the move tonight (1 March) after Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry said at least 115 Palestinians were killed and more than 750 others were injured during the incident in Gaza City on Thursday.

Witnesses said Israeli troops opened fire as huge crowds raced to pull goods off an aid convoy.

Mr Biden said the airdrops will begin in the “coming days” while hosting the
Italian prime minister, Giorgia Meloni, at the White House.

“We need to do more and the United States will do more,” Biden told reporters, adding that “aid flowing to Gaza is nowhere nearly enough.”

At the White House, spokesperson John Kirby stressed that airdrops would become “a sustained effort.” He added that the first airdrop would be likely be military MREs, or “meals ready-to-eat.”

“This isn’t going to be one and done,” Kirby said.

Biden also said the US was also looking at the possibility of a maritime corridor to deliver large amounts of aid into Gaza.

Israel said many of the dead were trampled in a stampede and that its troops fired at some in the crowd whom they believed were moving toward them in a threatening way.

David Deptula, a retired US Air Force lieutenant general, said the country’s military is effective at executing airdrops.

“It is something that’s right up their mission alley,” Mr Deptula told the Reuters news agency.

“There are a lot of detailed challenges, but there’s nothing insurmountable.”

At least 576,000 people in the Gaza Strip – one quarter of the enclave’s population – are one step away from famine, according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.