MELSBROEK: Belgium on Monday sent a military transport plane to join an international operation to drop aid in war-ravaged Gaza also involving the United States, France and Jordan, officials said.

The aid was taken to Jordan, where Israeli officials were to inspect it before allowing an airdrop to take place on Wednesday at the earliest, said the commander of the air base outside Brussels where the aircraft took off.

“We are not deciding when we go in, we are being told when we can go in and we will abide by that,” Colonel Bruno Beeckmans told AFP. “It’s absolutely a no-go fly zone because it’s a war zone. So we need to be precisely coordinated.”

The military Airbus A400M transporter was to make another flight from Brussels to Jordan’s Zarqa air base outside Amman, to take in more more aid and personnel for the drop.

US military cargo planes begin air drop to Gaza

Zarqa has been a hub for what Belgian Defence Minister Ludivine Dedonder called a “humanitarian coalition for Palestine”.

Jordan has conducted at least 16 air drops of aid into Gaza since the war broke out on October 7. One was made with a French military plane.

The United States – Israel’s strongest ally – began air-dropping aid on Saturday into Gaza, which has faced relentless bombardment by Israel since Hamas launched its unprecedented attack across the border on October 7.

The US air drop saw heavy pallets parachuted into the water off a Gaza beach thronged with people.

Beecksman told journalists that was done for safety reasons, to avoid hitting people on land, but that Palestinian authorities did not want air drops into the water.

“It was received as humiliating by the Palestinians. So we want to avoid that,” he said.

Beeckmans said: “The Palestinians indicated they prefer collateral damage than dropping at sea.”

UN officials have stressed the dire conditions faced by people in Gaza with dwindling food supplies putting much of the population on the brink of starvation.

Belgian Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib, who was also at the Melsbroek air base, said a ceasefire was needed to allow more aid deliveries.


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