5 people killed in Gaza as aid package parachute fails to deploy, officials and witness say

Officials from the Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza and an eyewitness told CBS News that five people were killed Friday by an airdrop package when at least one parachute failed to deploy properly and a package fell on them. The people were in the Al-Shati refugee camp in northern Gaza and the incident took place around 4:30 in the morning.

CBS News was told that two boys were among the five killed and 11 others were injured in the incident. The exact age of the victims is not clear, but the injured are believed to be between 30 and 50 years old.

The US, Jordan, Egypt, France, the Netherlands and Belgium stopped aid to Gaza Friday in an effort to get supplies, including much-needed food, to residents amid a worsening humanitarian crisis there.

A video posted to social media showed a large group of aid packages hanging from parachutes that floated through the air but appeared to become entangled before one, with the parachute extended but not fully opened, fell down much faster than the rest .

An image from a video posted to social media on March 8, 2024, which CBS News could not independently verify, appears to show air-dropped aid packages falling to the ground in northern Gaza, where a witness and officials the Hamas-led Health Ministry said: People were killed when at least one of the packages’ parachutes failed to deploy properly. One package can be seen near the bottom center of this screenshot, which fell much faster than the rest, with a partially collapsed parachute.

The airborne landings have been criticized by international aid agencies and others as being completely inadequate to meet the needs of the people of Gaza.

The United Nations has warned of widespread famine among Gaza’s roughly 2.3 million residents, and the world body’s chief humanitarian aid coordinator, Martin Griffiths, said in a social media post on Friday to mark six months of war in Gaza that the airdrops were a “last resort”. “

“All those concerned about the situation in Gaza must put pressure on the Israeli government to allow unhindered humanitarian access to land and not block convoys,” European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said. said Thursdaycalling the air drops “good but insufficient”.

U.S. officials have acknowledged to CBS News that the airdrops are not enough to meet the enormous need in Gaza. They say they are a statement that the world will not just stand by and watch as a famine develops.

Friday’s airborne landings took place a day after President Biden announced that the US military would build a temporary pier on Gaza’s Mediterranean coast where humanitarian supplies, including food, water, medicine and temporary shelter, could be received, to increase the flow of such goods into the enclave.

Two U.S. officials told CBS News that the current plan is for the pier to be installed by the U.S. Army’s 7th Transportation Brigade, based in Ft. Story, Virginia. The ships needed to do the work were still in Virginia on Friday, and officials made clear it would be weeks before the project could be operational.

Lior Haiat, spokesperson for the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said in a statement On Friday, Israel said it welcomed the plan, adding that it would “enable the increase of humanitarian assistance to the Gaza Strip, after security checks have been carried out in accordance with Israeli standards.”

Haiat said Israel would “continue the fight against Hamas – an organization that calls for the destruction of the State of Israel and carried out the October 7 massacre – until its elimination and the return of all hostages,” while also providing continue to facilitate. of humanitarian assistance in Gaza “in accordance with the rules of war and in coordination with the United States and our allies around the world.”

CBS News’ Marwan al-Ghoul in Gaza contributed to this report.

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