FACT CHECK: Did US-Airdropped Aid Packages Kill 5 Palestinians In Gaza?

Elias Atienza | Senior Reporter

Posts shared on X claim that U.S. airdropped aid packages killed five Palestinians in Gaza.

Verdict: Misleading

It is unclear who dropped the packages that killed five people, though at least one outlet noted that a United Arab Emirates (UAE) C-17 might have been responsible. A U.S. defense official and the Department of Defense (DOD) denied the claim to Check Your Fact.

Fact Check:

Social media users and media outlets have claimed an American aid package killed five Palestinians in Gaza during an airdrop on Mar. 8. The Jerusalem Post and the Telegraph both reported that the aid package was American, though the former cited Israeli media.

This claim, though, is unsubstantiated. Officials from the Hamas-run Gaza Ministry of Health and witnesses told CBS News and CNN that an aid package killed five people and injured several others after the parachute failed. However, they could not identify who dropped the packages.

A U.S. defense official and the Department of Defense (DOD) denied the claim to Check Your Fact. “We can confirm that the U.S. did not cause fatalities during our aid drop in Gaza,” the U.S. defense official stated.

The DOD said is a statement that “[r]eports of injuries in Gaza from a U.S. airdropped aid box are false.” (RELATED: Video Does Not Show Haifa Port On Fire)

Video of the packages falling was posted to social media.

CBS News reported that the “U.S., Jordan, Egypt, France, the Netherlands and Belgium” dropped packages on Mar. 8, as the humanitarian situation in Gaza worsens. Biden announced during his State Of The Union speech Mar. 7 that the U.S. would build a temporary port in Gaza to help deliver humanitarian aid in the region.

U.S. Central Command said in a Mar. 8 update that a C-130 dropped 11,500 meal equivalents in northern Gaza during a “combined humanitarian assistance airdrop” with the Royal Jordanian Air Force.

“The DoD humanitarian airdrops contribute to ongoing U.S. and partner-nation government efforts to alleviate human suffering. These airdrops are part of a sustained effort, and we continue to plan follow on aerial deliveries,” the statement partially reads.

CENTCOM also released a March 9 press release stating that its air drops did not kill anyone.

“We are aware of reports of civilians killed as a result of humanitarian airdrops. We express sympathies to the families of those who were killed. Contrary to some reports, this was not the result of U.S. airdrops,” CENTCOM stated.

As of publishing time, Check Your Fact could not verify who dropped the aid packages. The Telegraph later updated its article to note that the US denied its air drops killed people. The Jerusalem Post also updated its article to note this.

Task & Purpose reported that flight tracker data and videos of the failed air drop show that an UAE C-17 might have been responsible for the packages. Major Gen. Patrick Ryder said during a March 8 press briefing that only American C-130s are being used for the humanitarian airdrops.

“We have only used C-130s for our airdrops. And in terms of this particular airdrop, I would just note that the data miner alert that went out on this was five minutes before the airdrop actually occurred. So pretty confident that it wasn’t us. And we also maintain the capability to observe our bundles actually hitting the ground,” Ryder said.

Check Your Fact reached out to the Jerusalem Post and the Telegraph for comment.

Editor’s note: This story relies on developing information and the verdict may change. This article was also updated on March 8 to note that the Telegraph updated its story to note that the US denied its air drops killed people. 

Update 3/11/2024: This article was updated to note that the Jerusalem Post changed its article to note that the U.S. denied its air drops killed people, to note the possibility that a UAE C-17 might have dropped the packages and that CENTCOM released a statement denying the claims. Therefore the verdict has been changed to misleading.

Elias Atienza

Senior Reporter
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