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White House announces first of 3 US military flights carrying humanitarian aid for Gaza

The White House on Tuesday announced that the first relief flight facilitated by the U.S. military is set to arrive in Egypt to provide humanitarian aid to civilians in Gaza.

The flight is the first of three relief flights “facilitated by the unique capabilities of the U.S. military that will be arriving into North Sinai in Egypt,” a senior administration official told reporters. The flights will bring medical supplies, food, and winter items ahead of the winter in Gaza and those goods will then be delivered to civilians by the United Nations.

The next two flights with humanitarian aid “will be coming in the coming days,” the official said. Five commercial flights, supported by the U.S., have brought goods into Egypt since the conflict began, but these flights are the first facilitated by the military.

The military planes head to Egypt amid the temporary truce in Gaza between Israel and Hamas, which was extended by two days on Monday. Since Friday, the pause in the deadly fighting in Gaza has allowed for some hostages held by Hamas to be released and for a surge of humanitarian aid to get into Gaza.

The military planes full of aid adds to the roughly 200 trucks a day that have gone into Gaza to deliver fuel, food and water. 

The White House said that the surge in movement of goods into Gaza during the pause has created a need to backfill items, which led to the decision to send military planes into the Middle East.

“The movement over the last four or five days of assistance has been so significant in volume that a backfill into El-Arish is now needed. These planes are part of that backfill,” an official said. There’s quite a quantity of goods on route to El-Arish from other destinations but this is a significant contribution at a moment when that fill is very much needed.”

When questioned on if the optics of U.S. military planes carrying humanitarian aid could put pressure on Israel to keep up the pause in fighting, an official said that while they would like to see the pause extended for as long as possible, “the intent here is simply to ensure that significant flow of humanitarian assistance…are arriving quickly into Arish.”

El-Arish is a city in North Sinai, Egypt, and goods taken there by the U.S. will be transported into civilians in Gaza by the United Nations.

Source: The Hill

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