Germany calls for large-scale aid access to Gaza as Scholz heads to Israel

Polish PM Tusk and France's President Macron meet with German Chancellor Scholz in Berlin

BERLIN (Reuters) - German Chancellor Olaf Scholz urged Israel on Saturday to allow humanitarian aid access to Gaza on a larger scale, ahead of a two-day trip to the Middle East.

Scholz will travel to the Jordanian Red Sea port of Aqaba on Saturday to meet on Sunday with Jordan's King Abdullah before flying on to Israel to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"It is necessary for aid to reach Gaza on a larger scale now. That will be a topic that I also have to talk about," Scholz told journalists ahead of his trip.

He also voiced concern about Israel's planned offensive in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, where more than half the Palestinian's enclave's population of 2.3 million have taken shelter.

"There is a danger that a comprehensive offensive in Rafah will result in many terrible civilian casualties, which must be strictly prohibited," he added.

Germany's air force said it dropped pallets with four tons of relief goods by air into the enclave on Saturday.

"Every package counts. But airdrops are just a drop in the ocean," the foreign ministry said on the social media platform X.

Israel's air and ground campaign in Gaza, triggered by Hamas' attack on Oct. 7, has displaced most of the population and left people in dire need of food and other essentials.

(Reporting by Sarah Marsh and Riham Alkousaa; Editing by Frances Kerry)