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12 Palestinians drown while trying to retrieve aid dropped into sea

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The authorities in Gaza have called for an end to aid being airdropped and encouraged an increase in deliveries by land.

The authorities disclosed that a total of 12 people drowned while trying to retrieve airdropped aid that had fallen into the Mediterranean.

People waded into the water from a beach in northern Gaza on Monday afternoon, March 25, to get the aid packages, according to Ahmed Abu Qamar, a Gaza-based researcher for EuroMed Rights, a human rights group, who said he had spoken to witnesses.

He also said that around a dozen people had drowned, saying that at least one had become entangled in a parachute.

It was not clear which country was responsible for the airdrop in question.

Three of approximately 80 aid bundles dropped by the United States on Monday “were reported to have had parachute malfunctions and landed in the water,” a Pentagon spokeswoman, Sabrina Singh, said at a news conference on Tuesday.

However, she said that she could not confirm the reports of the drownings.

The aid was intentionally dropped over water and intended to be carried to land by wind drift, to mitigate potential harm in the event that the parachutes failed to deploy, Ms. Singh said.

The fatalities were not the first connected to aid drops. Earlier this month, the authorities in Gaza said that at least five Palestinians had been killed and several others wounded when airdropped aid packages fell on them in Gaza City.

On Tuesday, March 26, the Gaza government media office said that six other people had died during in stampedes trying to get aid that was airdropped in other locations.

The United Nations and other aid organizations say that trucks, rather than planes, are the cheapest, safest and most effective means of delivering aid to Gaza, a territory whose population of more than two million faces a hunger crisis that humanitarian organizations say borders on famine.

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