U.S. will airdrop aid to Gaza after Israeli forces opened fire as crowd sought food

People chant and hold signs
Sabry Wazwaz (left) leads chants of “Free Free Palestine” outside a city council meeting in Minneapolis on Jan. 23.
Ben Hovland | MPR News

The United States military will airdrop humanitarian assistance into Gaza, President Joe Biden announced Friday, a day after witnesses say Israeli forces shot desperately hungry Palestinians crowding around a food aid truck.

At least 115 Palestinians were killed and hundreds more wounded in Gaza City on Thursday, the Health Ministry in Gaza said.

Israel says many of the dead were trampled in a chaotic crush for the food aid, and its troops fired warning shots after the crowd moved toward them in a threatening way.

Since the war began, Israel has barred entry of food, water, medicine and other supplies, except for a trickle of aid entering the south from Egypt at the Rafah crossing and Israel’s Kerem Shalom crossing.

The U.N. says a quarter of Gaza’s 2.3 million people face starvation. Aid officials have said that airdrops are not an efficient means of distributing aid and are a measure of last resort.

The number of Palestinians killed in the Gaza Strip has soared above 30,000 since Israel’s war on Hamas began nearly five months ago, after Hamas-led militants stormed across southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing 1,200 people and taking about 250 others hostage.

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