VIDEO: Israeli troops open fire on crowd waiting for aid in Gaza; over 100 killed


Friday, 1 March 2024 (11:26 IST)
Health authorities in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip on Thursday said over 100 people were killed after Israeli troops opened fire as crowds of Palestinians pulled flour and canned goods from an aid convoy near Gaza City.
In a statement on Facebook, the Health Ministry said 104 people had been killed and another 760 had been injured in the incident.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has confirmed it opened fire, adding that an initial probe showed about 10 of the injuries were caused by Israeli gunfire. Neither the total number of deaths nor casualties caused by Israeli gunfire could be independently confirmed.
The Palestinian territory's Health Ministry described it as a "massacre."
Ministry spokesperson Ashraf al-Qidra said the incident took place at al-Nabusi roundabout to the west of Gaza City.
The IDF posted what it said was aerial footage of the operation to bring humanitarian aid into northern Gaza. The IDF said the footage showed how the "Palestinian crowd attacked the trucks and as a result dozens were killed from overcrowding, crowding and trampling."

Gaza killings provoke range of international reactions
A Thursday incident in the Gaza Strip that left over 100 Palestinians dead and injured hundreds more as they waited to receive food aid has provoked strong reactions from actors on all sides of the conflict, including Hamas, the UN, Israel and the United States.
Amid differing reports on precisely what occurred in the hours before dawn, the AFP news agency quoted witnesses from the scene saying Israeli forces had fired into the crowd.
Israel initially said the deaths had been caused by confusion and panic resulting in stampeding. It later also acknowledged that some Israeli soldiers had fired their weapons, though it claimed they had only shot into the air or at peoples' legs.
Hamas, which the US, EU and Israel all identify as a terror organization, and whose October 7 attack on Israel started this latest war, released a statement after the incident, threatening to withdraw from ongoing hostage release and cease-fire negotiations with Israel, citing the "expense of the blood of our people." 
In separate statements, neighboring Egypt and Jordan condemned what they called a "shameful crime" and the "brutal targeting" of civilians. Egypt, which directly borders Gaza, said, "We consider targeting peaceful civilians rushing to pick up their share of aid a shameful crime and a flagrant violation of international law."
UN aid boss Martin Griffiths on Thursday called the incident "appalling" and pointed to the total Gaza death toll, which has now surpassed 30,000, saying, "life is draining out of Gaza at terrifying speed."
In Israel, despite ongoing urgent warnings from around the world calling for increased humanitarian aid to Gaza, far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir said such deliveries should be done away with altogether.
Ben-Gvir said Thursday's incident, "shows not only that it's crazy to transfer humanitarian aid to Gaza while hostages are still being held, it also puts soldiers at risk."
In Washington, US President Joe Biden — a staunch ally of Israel who has become increasingly frustrated with the proportionality of Israel's response to Hamas' initial attack — said the incident will complicate efforts to arrive at a cease-fire deal that, earlier this week, he said could be agreed by Monday. Biden also said the US was looking into "two competing versions of what happened," adding that it is currently impossible to know what exactly transpired and why.
UN boss 'condemns' Gaza killings, Security Council to meet
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday "condemned" an incident in which more than 100 Palestinian civilians were killed and hundreds injured while waiting to receive what he called "life-saving aid."
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric on Thursday said, "The desperate civilians in Gaza need urgent help, including those in the besieged north where the United Nations has not been able to deliver aid in more than a week." 
Dujarric also emphasized that Guterres was "appalled by the tragic human toll of the conflict."
The Hamas-run Gaza Health Authority on Thursday announced that the death toll in the enclave now exceeds 30,000.     
The AFP news agency has reported that the UN Security Council will hold a closed-door meeting on the incident on Thursday afternoon, citing an anonymous diplomatic source who claimed the meeting had been requested by Algeria.

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