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Rights body calls for safe delivery of aid to Gaza after airdrop deaths

The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor has called for urgent international intervention to help provide Gazans with safe access to food after nearly 20 Palestinians were killed trying to reach aid.

In a statement, the organization, based in Switzerland, called for finding “appropriate mechanisms” to increase and diversify aid delivery to Gaza City and its northern part safely and respectfully.

“Given the Israeli crime of genocide that has been ongoing since October 7, 2023, the international community must act quickly to determine appropriate mechanisms to ensure that humanitarian supplies reach the hungry and impoverished in a way that preserves their dignity and lives,” the statement said.

It cited repeated casualties resulting from the unsafe dropping of aid from aircraft or during unsecured entry of aid trucks into northern Gaza.

“Palestinians who escaped Israeli bombing, gunfire, or starvation in the Gaza Strip have now been killed as a result of the disorderly entry of international aid, either by aid falling on their heads, drowning while attempting to reach it, or being suffocated or crushed in a stampede,” the statement by the organization said.

Palestinian officials say 12 Palestinians drowned Monday after being entangled with ropes of parachutes of aid parcels dropped by planes and falling into the sea in northern Gaza. Bodies of seven of them were recovered and five others went missing.

Six others were killed on Monday in stampedes to obtain aid airdrops as famine forced residents to scramble for the sake of getting some aid boxes to feed their hungry children.

Five people were killed and 10 injured by an airdrop earlier this month when parachutes malfunctioned, a Gaza medic said.

Several countries, including the United States, France, and Jordan, have been airdropping aid into northern Gaza, where land deliveries have effectively been blocked.

Gaza officials have condemned such operations and called for an immediate end to the airdrop landings.

However, Washington on Tuesday said it will continue the aid drop operations.

‘Israel systematically denying Gazans access to aid’

The human rights organization warned against the Israeli military’s continued shooting at aid seekers, which has so far led to the martyrdom of at least 563 people and the injury of hundreds of others.

“These shootings suggest the existence of a systematic Israeli policy to deny hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip safe access to aid.”

“Since early February, Israel has been attacking aid warehouses and limiting the amount of humanitarian aid and other supplies that are required to maintain the civilian population at the necessary level.”

Only around 150 lorries a day carrying aid are now getting into Gaza compared with at least 500 before the war, according to UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees.

UNICEF has said more aid must be rushed into Gaza by road, rather than air or sea, to avert “this imminent famine.”

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