British RAF conducts first-ever food drop in Gaza


LONDON:In an unprecedented move during the ongoing conflict, the British Royal Air Force (RAF) successfully delivered over 10 tonnes of essential aid to Palestinians in Gaza on Monday. The consignment, which included water, rice, cooking oil, flour, canned goods, and baby formula, was air-dropped for the first time.

The Ministry of Defence disclosed that the supplies were delivered via an RAF A400M aircraft, which took off from Amman. This operation was part of a larger international aid mission spearheaded by Jordan, aimed at providing relief to the conflict-stricken region of Gaza.

British Defence Secretary Grant Shapps sanctioned the execution of this aid drop. The decision was made after a comprehensive assessment indicated a reduction in the threat level to the military mission and minimal risk to civilian lives. This humanitarian gesture marks a significant milestone in the ongoing efforts to provide relief to the affected region.

Mr Shapps stated, “The UK has already augmented our aid budget to Gaza threefold, yet we aspire to do more to alleviate human suffering.”

He added, “The airdrop executed today has offered an additional avenue to deliver humanitarian aid. I extend my gratitude to the RAF personnel who played a crucial role in this mission, as well as to our Jordanian counterparts for their guidance.”

Reflecting on the aftermath of the Hamas attack on October 7, he said, “The chaos that ensued has resulted in a widespread loss of innocent lives.”

Mr Shapps articulated, “The UK is committed to exploring all possible avenues to deliver life-saving aid, be it by road, air, or potentially new sea routes.”

He continued, “We persistently urge Israel to grant port access and open additional land crossings to facilitate increased aid deliveries to Gaza.”

Significantly, the aid delivery coincided with the day the UK endorsed a UN Security Council’s call for a ceasefire in Gaza during the holy month of Ramadan.

Downing Street has stated that the Security Council’s resolution, the first of its kind to demand a cessation of hostilities, sends a strong signal for the release of hostages held by Hamas and for the provision of aid to Gaza.

In light of impending famine warnings in the devastated Gaza Strip, the aid drop comes on the heels of recent land deliveries of 2,000 tonnes of food aid from the UK, sufficient to feed over 275,000 individuals in the region.

The delivery on Monday marked the UK’s inaugural mission of delivering humanitarian aid via parachute. Despite this, the UK has a history of supporting international aid drops, having supplied approximately 600 parachutes at the behest of Jordan and Bahrain.