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Biden announces US will drop food aid to Gaza

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Palestinians hold their empty containers behind bars to be filled with food distributed by charities as they cannot obtain basic food items due to the embargo imposed by Israeli forces in Rafah, Gaza, on February 25, 2024.

Abed Zagout | Anadolu | Getty Images

President Joe Biden announced Friday that the United States would abandon its food aid to the Gaza Strip, stressing that humanitarian aid intended for Palestinians in the region was insufficient.

“The aid coming into Gaza is not nearly enough…lives are at stake,” Biden said in announcing the airdrop decision during an Oval Office meeting with the Prime Minister. Italian Minister Giorgia Meloni.

“We should be bringing in hundreds of trucks, not just a few,” he continued. “We’re going to do everything we can.”

The president reiterated that the United States was trying to push for an immediate ceasefire between Hamas and Israel to allow more aid to Gaza, where he said “innocent people” have died.

Later Friday, the president responded to a reporter’s question about when the first airdrops would take place, saying: “I’m not sure. I think very soon.” Shortly afterward, Biden discussed a possible ceasefire deal, saying he was “still hoping for it.”

A child is seen holding an empty pan as he waits with others to receive hot meals distributed by charities and charitable organizations in Gaza City, Gaza, February 26, 2024.

Omar Qattaa | Anadolu | Getty Images

“It’s not over until it’s over,” he said.

Biden on Thursday walked back his earlier comments that he hoped a ceasefire deal could be reached by Monday.

The White House is increasingly concerned about possible famine for a significant portion of Gaza’s population.

Samantha Power, the administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, announced this week that the United States would send $53 million in additional humanitarian aid to Gaza.

“She is working to expand the channels, the corridors through which this aid can flow. We will continue on this path,” White House principal deputy press secretary Olivia Dalton said Thursday. “This morning’s events simply highlighted how deep and dire the humanitarian needs of Gaza’s civilian population are at this time.”

Palestinians hold their empty containers behind bars to be filled with food distributed by charities as they cannot obtain basic food items due to the embargo imposed by Israeli forces in Rafah, Gaza, on February 25, 2024.

Abed Zagout | Anadolu | Getty Images

The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry said in a statement posted on Telegram on Friday that 115 people had died and 760 injured as crowds of people waited for humanitarian aid trucks in Gaza on Thursday. Palestinian officials said Israeli soldiers opened fire on civilians.

NBC News has not independently verified the reported death toll. The Israeli military said it was investigating the incident. An Israeli government source said IDF troops responded with “live fire” after people surrounded trucks carrying humanitarian aid.

The Israel Defense Forces said in an article on Thursday, “This morning, humanitarian aid trucks entered northern Gaza, residents surrounded the trucks and looted the delivered supplies. Following the shoving, trampling and crushing by the trucks, dozens of Gazans were killed and injured.”



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