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US and Jordanian forces airdrop aid into Gaza

By Oren Liebermann and Samantha Waldenberg, CNN

(CNN) — The United States and Jordan air-dropped humanitarian aid into Gaza, US Central Command said Saturday, one day after President Joe Biden asserted the US would pull out “every stop” to get more aid into the besieged coastal enclave.

The combined operation by the US Air Force and the Royal Jordanian Air Force saw US C-130 aircraft dropping 38,000 meals along the Gaza coastline, CENTCOM said in a statement.

There were 66 total bundles dropped – 22 from each of three aircraft, a US official said. There was no water or medical supplies in the bundles.

“These airdrops are part of a sustained effort to get more aid into Gaza, including by expanding the flow of aid through land corridors and routes,” CENTCOM said.

White House officials described Saturday’s operation as “successful.”

“The fact that today’s airdrop was successful is an important test case to show that we can do this again in the coming days and weeks successfully,” a senior administration official said during a call with reporters Saturday.

The senior official added that the Defense Department is planning on conducting additional airdrops in Gaza in the days ahead but declined to offer further details.

Following Saturday’s airdrops, Biden said on social media that the amount of aid flowing into Gaza was “not nearly enough” and that the US would “continue to pull out every stop we can to get more aid in.”

The comments echo Biden’s remarks from a day earlier when he bemoaned the slow pace of assistance into Gaza. Speaking alongside Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni in the Oval Office, Biden also said that the US was working to broker a ceasefire that would allow for additional aid.

Biden said Friday he would “insist” that Israel allow more trucks and routes for aid into Gaza.

“We’re going to insist that Israel facilitate more trucks and more routes to get more and more people the help they need, no excuses,” the president said. “Innocent lives are on the line, and children’s lives are on the line.”

Other countries, including the United Arab Emirates and France, have air-dropped aid into Gaza. But Saturday’s operation was a first for the US.

Prior to the announcement of Saturday’s operation, several aid agencies criticized the US plans to drop food aid as ineffective, as the United Nations warns that hundreds of thousands of Gazans are on the brink of famine.

Richard Gowan, the International Crisis Group’s UN director, said on social media: “Humanitarian workers always complain that airdrops are good photo opportunities but a lousy way to deliver aid.”

This story and headline have been updated with additional information.

CNN’s Camila DeChalus and Sophie Tanno contributed to this report.

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