Palestinians hold out their empty containers to be filled with food, distributed by charity organizations, behind bars since they are unable to obtain basic food supplies due to the embargo imposed by Israeli forces in Rafah, Gaza on February 25, 2024. 

Abed Zagout | Anadolu | Getty Images

President Joe Biden announced Friday that the U.S. will drop food aid into the Gaza Strip, noting that the humanitarian aid flowing into the region for Palestinians is insufficient.

“Aid flowing into Gaza is nowhere nearly enough… lives are on the line,” Biden said as he announced the decision about the airdrops during an Oval Office meeting he was holding with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.

“We should be getting hundreds of trucks in, not just several,” he continued. “We’re going to pull out every stop we can.”

The president reiterated that the U.S. is trying to push for an immediate cease-fire between Hamas and Israel to allow more aid into Gaza, where he said “innocent people” have died.

Later on Friday, the president responded to a reporter’s question about when the first air drops will happen, saying, “I’m not positive. I think very soon.” Shortly after, Biden addressed a possible cease-fire agreement, saying he’s “still hoping for it.”

A child is seen holding an empty pan as he waits with others to receive hot food distributed by charitables and charity organization in Gaza City, Gaza on February 26, 2024.

Omar Qattaa | Anadolu | Getty Images

“It’s not over ’til it’s over,” he said.

Biden on Thursday had walked back his previous comments that he hoped a cease-fire agreement could be completed by Monday.

The White House is growing increasingly concerned about possible famine for a sizeable portion of Gaza’s population.

Samantha Power, the administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, announced this week that the U.S. was sending $53 million in additional humanitarian assistance into Gaza. 

“She’s working on expanding the channels, the corridors through which that aid can flow. We’re going to keep at this,” White House principal deputy press secretary Olivia Dalton said Thursday. “The events of this morning just underscored how deep and dire the humanitarian needs amongst civilian population in Gaza are right now.”

Palestinians with empty containers wait in front of boilers to receive hot food distributed by charitables and charity organization in Gaza City, Gaza on February 26, 2024. 

Omar Qattaa | Anadolu | Getty Images

The Hamas-run Gaza Ministry of Health said in a statement on Telegram Friday that 115 people had died and 760 were wounded as a crowd of people waited for humanitarian aid trucks in Gaza on Thursday. Palestinian officials claimed that Israeli soldiers opened fire on civilians. 

NBC News has not independently verified the reported death toll. The Israeli military said it was reviewing the incident. An Israeli government source said that IDF troops responded with “live fire” after people surrounded trucks carrying humanitarian aid.

The Israel Defense Forces said in a post on X Thursday, “This morning humanitarian aid trucks entered northern Gaza, residents surrounded the trucks and looted the supplies being delivered. As a result of the pushing, trampling and being run over by the trucks, dozens of Gazans were killed and injured.”


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