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12 Palestinians drown while trying to retrieve airdrops

At least 12 Palestinians in Gaza drowned Monday while trying to reach humanitarian airdrops, according to Palestinian health authorities, a revelation that comes as Pentagon officials confirmed three out of the 80 bundles it airdropped into Gaza the same day had parachute malfunctions and fell into the water.

Palestinian officials said the individuals drowned off the coast near Beit Lahia, in northern Gaza, as they dove into the sea to retrieve airdropped parcels.

It is not known which country dropped the aid, as Egypt, Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States, Singapore and a joint United Arab Emirates-Jordanian effort all conducted such missions over Gaza on Monday, CNN reported.

Asked about the drownings on Tuesday, Pentagon spokesperson Sabrina Singh said she had seen the reports but couldn’t confirm them.

“As always, safety is a top priority when planning these airdrops,” Singh told reporters at the Pentagon. “Drop zones are chosen to mitigate potential failures of parachutes to deploy. These humanitarian aid drops occur over water, and the wind causes the bundles to drift over to land. In the event of a parachute malfunction, the bundles land in the water.”

She noted that with the U.S. humanitarian airdrop, three of the approximately 80 bundles “were reported to have had parachute malfunctions and landed in the water.”

The reported deaths come as Israel’s strict restrictions on aid entering the Gaza Strip have created a growing humanitarian crisis steadily moving toward famine.

More than 31,000 Palestinians have already been killed, and essential supplies have been all but used up in Israel’s brutal air and ground military campaign in the territory.

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