Germany said Wednesday it was joining an air bridge operation along with several other countries to drop desperately needed humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip.

The operation, initiated by Jordan, already has the participation of several other countries including France and the United States.

The defence ministry said it would deploy the German part of a joint German-French air transport squadron to participate in the mission.

The team is equipped with C-130J Hercules transport planes, said the ministry, adding that Germany's operation could begin as soon as the end of this week.

"The people in Gaza are lacking the most basic necessities. We want to do our part to ensure that they get access to food and medicine," said Defence Minister Boris Pistorius.

After one parachuted airdrop turned lethal on March 8, the minister sought to allay fears.

"The truth is that airdrops are not without danger. The crews responsible are trained for the relevant procedures and highly experienced," he said.

Gaza has faced relentless bombardment by Israel since Hamas launched a cross-border attack on October 7 that resulted in about 1,160 deaths, most of them civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.

Israel's retaliatory bombardment and ground offensive has killed 31,184 Palestinians, mostly women and children, according to Gaza's Hamas-run health ministry.

Aid groups say only a fraction of the supplies required to meet basic humanitarian needs have been allowed into Gaza since October.

With help entering Gaza by truck far below pre-war levels, and Gazans increasingly desperate, foreign governments have turned to airdrops and are now trying to open a maritime aid corridor from Cyprus.