Twelve people drowned trying to reach aid dropped by plane off a Gaza beach, Palestinian health authorities said Tuesday, amid growing fears of famine nearly six months into Israel's military campaign.

Video of the airdrop showed crowds of people running towards the beach, in Beit Lahia in north Gaza, as crates with parachutes floated down, then people standing deep in water and bodies being pulled onto the sand.

In Washington, the Pentagon said three of the 18 bundles of airdropped aid into Gaza on Monday had parachute malfunctions and fell into the water, but could not confirm if anyone was killed trying to reach the aid.

It was the latest in a string of incidents involving deaths during aid deliveries in the crowded Palestinian enclave where some people are foraging for weeds to eat and baking barely edible bread from animal feed.

Aid agencies say only about a fifth of required supplies are entering Gaza as Israel persists with an air and ground offensive, pushing parts of it into famine already.

They say deliveries by air or sea directly onto Hamas-run Gaza's beaches are no substitute for increased supplies coming in by land via Israel or Egypt.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has urged Israel to give an "ironclad commitment" for unfettered aid access into the Gaza Strip and described the number of trucks blocked at the border as "a moral outrage".

Israel says it puts no limit on the amount of humanitarian aid entering Gaza and blames problems in it reaching civilians within the enclave on UN agencies, which it says are inefficient.

Distribution of aid inside Gaza has been complicated, particularly in the north, and last month health authorities in Gaza said Israeli troops killed more than 100 people trying to take aid from a convoy.

Israel's military disputed that account.

The UN humanitarian office urged Israel to revoke an apparent ban on food aid to north Gaza by UNRWA, saying people there were facing a "cruel death by famine".
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