The United States made a second round of airdrops of humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, as the Biden administration continued its efforts to prevent a greater humanitarian disaster in the Palestinian territory.

U.S. Air Force cargo planes dropped 36,800 ready-to-eat meals, in a joint operation with the Jordanian Air Force, “to provide essential relief to civilians affected by the ongoing conflict,” U.S. Central Command said in a statement on Tuesday.

It said that army troops trained in aerial delivery were part of the airdrop, and that it was planning more such missions. However, the Pentagon said on Tuesday that the United States did not intend to send its troops into Gaza to strengthen the aid distribution process.

“At this time there are no plans to put U.S. forces on the ground in Gaza,” Maj. Gen. Patrick Ryder, a Pentagon spokesman, said at a news conference.

Some aid experts and humanitarian groups have criticized the American airdrops as insufficient and largely symbolic, given the scale of the hunger problem facing Gaza after five months of war. Cargo planes can only move a fraction of the food a convoy of trucks can deliver, experts say, and a better solution would be for the United States to persuade Israel to open more border crossings and speed up inspections.

The operation on Tuesday followed a first round of airdrops on Saturday, two days after more than 100 Palestinians were killed as Israeli forces opened fire around a convoy of aid trucks in northern Gaza.

Doctors at Gaza hospitals said most of the casualties were from gunfire. The Israeli military said most of the victims were trampled as they tried to seize the cargo, although Israeli officials acknowledged that troops had fired on some people who they said had threatened them.

After the convoy killings, President Biden said the United States would find new ways to get aid to Palestinians in desperate need because of Israel’s five-month military campaign to destroy Hamas. Only a trickle of aid has been reaching northern Gaza via land, but aid groups have criticized airdrops as ineffective. The amount of aid delivered by a French plane in an airdrop last week was much less than a single truckload.

Although Mr. Biden has implored Israel, which has largely sealed its border with Gaza, to clear the way for more aid deliveries, the demand for food, water and medicine there remains huge. Those conditions have put Mr. Biden under political pressure to do more to help the Palestinians, even as the United States supplies Israel with military hardware.

Despite his frustrations with Israel’s political leadership, Mr. Biden has not threatened to put limits on American military aid to the country.


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