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Gaza: 12 drown trying to retrieve aid parcels dropped into sea



12 Palestinians drowned in Gaza while trying to reach airdropped parcels that landed in the sea
The scene as captured by CNN

At least 12 Palestinians drowned off the northern Gaza coast near Beit Lahia on Monday while trying to reach airdropped parcels that had landed in the sea, according to local paramedics.

One graphic scene shows civilians performing CPR on several unresponsive bodies in a desperate attempt to resuscitate them.

Abu Mohammad, who witnessed the incident, told newsmen the aid was dropped far from the coast into the sea.

Afterwards, multiple Palestinians “who don’t know how to swim drowned” while trying to retrieve it.

“There were strong currents and all the parachutes fell in the water. People want to eat and are hungry.

“I haven’t been able to receive anything.

“The youth can run and get these aid (drops), but for us it’s a different story,” he said.

“We call for the opening of the crossings in a proper fashion, but these humiliating methods are not acceptable,” added Abu Mohammad.

Earlier this month, at least five people were killed and 10 others injured when airdropped aid packages fell on them in Al Shati camp west of Gaza City, according to a journalist on the scene.

Human rights groups have repeatedly criticized airdrops as an inefficient and degrading way of getting aid to Gazans, instead urging Israeli authorities to lift controls on land crossings into the enclave.

Hamas has called on Western countries to end airdrops of aid into Gaza, warning that the humanitarian delivery method is “offensive, wrong, inappropriate and useless.”

Hamas has from the outset been critical of airdrops, describing them as “useless” and “not the best way to bring aid in.”

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Israel’s severe restrictions on aid entering the Gaza Strip have drained essential supplies, condemning the entire population of more than 2.2 million people to risk of famine, according to an UN-backed report.

Humanitarian bodies including Oxfam and Human Rights Watch have warned Israel is “using starvation of civilians as a weapon of war in Gaza, which is a war crime.”

Israel insists there is “no limit” on the amount of aid that can enter Gaza, but its inspection regime means relief is barely trickling in.

Still, a senior US defense official said Tuesday there had been a “significant increase” in the amount of aid flowing into Gaza through various crossings.

This, he said, has resulted in nearly 200 trucks coming in a day, up from about 100 trucks a day in February.

The deaths came a day after Washington stepped aside and allowed the UN Security Council to pass a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

The resolution, proposed by the 10 non-permanent members of the Security Council, demands an immediate ceasefire for the month of Ramadan.

It also demanded immediate and unconditional release of hostages and urgent need to expand flow of aid into Gaza.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz pushed back against the demand, saying his country would not abide by the resolution.

Following the UN vote on Monday, Amnesty International said Israeli authorities “must immediately halt their brutal bombing campaign in Gaza and facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid.”

It added that, “Civilian hostages must be immediately released.”

Palestinian residents leave the area with a few items after the Israeli army forces besiege the Al-Shifa hospital with tanks and heavy gunfire in Gaza City, Gaza on March 18, 2024.

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Israeli military forced journalists and health workers to strip in Gaza hospital raid, eyewitnesses say.

The Pentagon said Tuesday that three bundles of aid out of the 80 delivered during the US airdrop over Gaza Monday had landed in the sea after a parachute malfunction.

“During yesterday’s humanitarian air drop, which included approximately 80 bundles, three bundles were reported to have had parachute malfunctions and landed in the water.

“It is important to note that drop zones are chosen to mitigate potential failures of parachutes to deploy.

“These humanitarian aid drops occur over water and the wind causes the bundles to drift over to land.

“In the event of a parachute malfunction the bundles land in the water,” Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh said.

Another eyewitness to the mass drowning in Beit Lahia urged regional leaders to “look at us and have mercy on us.”

“No one is looking after us. We are dying, our children are dying.

What are you doing? Where is the world’s conscience?” Abu Mahmoud al-Nather told reporters.

Read more.

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