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5 children killed in humanitarian aid airdrop, Hamas-run Gaza Ministry of Health says

Five children were allegedly killed in the Gaza Strip by a humanitarian aid airdrop from an unidentified foreign country on Friday, the Hamas-run Gaza Ministry of Health said.

Several Palestinian civilians were also injured in the airdrop, according to the Government Media Office in Gaza, which called the airdrop "random."

PHOTO: Parachutes drop supplies into the northern Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, on March 8, 2024. (Leo Correa/AP)
PHOTO: Parachutes drop supplies into the northern Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, on March 8, 2024. (Leo Correa/AP)

Bystander footage of Friday's airdrop showed an aircraft dropping dozens of packages via parachutes, as people ran toward them upon landing.

"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," U.S. Central Command said in a statement Friday evening.

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Israel previously said it has cooperated with several countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Egypt, France and the U.S., on airdrops into Gaza.

ABC News has reached out to the Israeli government for comment.

No one was injured in a U.S. airdrop that was conducted on Friday in Northern Gaza, according to Pentagon press secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder.

"Press reports that U.S. air drops resulted in civilian casualties on the ground are false, as we've confirmed that all of our aid bundles landed safely on the ground," Ryder said during a press briefing.

MORE: Enough food 'to feed entire population' sitting outside Gaza as malnutrition death toll reaches at least 20: WFP

The deaths come days after food and supplies started being airdropped along Gaza's coastline in response to the humanitarian crisis amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.

The Government Media Office in Gaza criticized airdrops as "useless" while calling for the immediate opening of land crossings into Gaza.

“We call for the opening of land crossings to bring in thousands of tons of aid immediately and urgently to prevent the deepening of famine in the Gaza Strip, especially in Gaza City and Northern Gaza,” the Government Media Office in Gaza said in a statement Friday. "Approximately 2,400,000 people in the Gaza Strip suffer greatly from severe shortages of food, water, medicine and shelter, and the famine deepens further as a result of this acute shortage."

At least 20 people have died from malnutrition and dehydration amid the war, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health.

PHOTO: An aircraft airdrops humanitarian aid over Gaza, as seen from southern Israel, on March 8, 2024.  (Leo Correa/AP)
PHOTO: An aircraft airdrops humanitarian aid over Gaza, as seen from southern Israel, on March 8, 2024. (Leo Correa/AP)

Adam Bouloukos, a senior official at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees-West Bank, told ABC News that airdrops of aid are "dangerous."

"You see the airdrops which look very dramatic, like, oh, this is a solution," he said. "[They are] immensely expensive, completely inefficient [and] dangerous. You're dropping these huge sacks of whatever it is on the beach with people running toward them."

He said the aid is a "drop in the bucket" based on the needs. He said a cease-fire is needed in Gaza to ensure aid reaches the areas that are most in need by road, stating that "you can't deliver humanitarian aid if you're being shot at."

The State Department official said these are "complex and tough missions."

"We take every reasonable precaution to avoid injuries, including limiting the weight of the pallets, identifying drop-zones in less-populated areas, and the sending of safety messages to the population prior to the airdrop," the official said.

MORE: Chef José Andrés challenges criticism of Gaza airdrops: Bring food 'any way we can'

The UNRWA previously said Israel doesn't provide enough authorization to deliver sufficient aid and, even when it does give authorization, the fighting makes it difficult to deliver that aid.

Israel has denied accusations that it isn't letting enough aid into Gaza, with officials saying the U.N., its partners and other aid agencies have created logistical challenges, resulting in a bottleneck. The U.N. disputes these claims.

A U.S. official told reporters this week the U.S. continues to push Israel to allow more aid into Gaza by land, saying it's the "most-efficient, cost-effective" option.

During his State of the Union speech on Thursday night, President Joe Biden announced an "emergency" military mission to construct a port in the Mediterranean Sea on Gaza's coast to get humanitarian aid in.

The World Central Kitchen said on Friday that a plan that has been in the works for weeks is in the “final stages” to bring food to people in Gaza. The organization said it plans to set up 200 pallets on the beaches of Gaza to bring people food.

Since Hamas' surprise attack on Israel on Oct. 7, more than 30,700 people have been killed in Gaza and more than 72,100 others have been injured, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health.

More than 1,200 people have been killed in Israel since Oct. 7, according to the Israeli Prime Minister's Office. Israeli officials say 576 IDF soldiers have been killed, including 237 since the ground operations in Gaza began.

ABC News' Shannon K. Crawford and Matt Seyler contributed to this report.

5 children killed in humanitarian aid airdrop, Hamas-run Gaza Ministry of Health says originally appeared on abcnews.go.com