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U.S. will continue aiddrops into Gaza, White House says

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U.S. will continue aiddrops into Gaza, White House says

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The United States will continue dropping essential aid from the air into the Gaza Strip, the White House said Tuesday, after Palestinian militant group Hamas called for them to end following fatal drownings and stampedes.

“Air drops are one of the many ways that we are helping to provide desperately needed aid to Palestinians in Gaza, and we will continue to do so,” the National Security Council said in a statement, after Hamas said that 18 people had died, 12 of them by drowning while trying to recover dropped food supplies.

The NSC said the United States was working “around the clock” to increase the flow of aid into Gaza by land, adding that efforts were also underway to establish a maritime corridor to reach the territory.

“Let’s be clear, Hamas started this war and has refused to agree to a hostage deal that would create the conditions to facilitate a surge in humanitarian assistance,” the statement said.

Hamas urged Tuesday for an end to airdrops — whereby aid packages are dropped with parachutes from a plane — saying they were too risky.

In a statement, Hamas called for “an immediate end to airdrop operations” and “the immediate and rapid opening of land crossings to allow humanitarian aid to reach our Palestinian people.”

The UN children’s fund, UNICEF, has said vastly more aid must be rushed into Gaza by road, rather than air or sea, to avert an “imminent famine.”

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