Dozens killed seeking aid in Gaza, overall death toll passes 30,000

March 1, 2024 10:07 am

[Source: Reuters]

Gaza health authorities said Israeli forces on Thursday shot dead more than 100 Palestinians as they waited for aid delivery, but Israel blamed the deaths on crowds that surrounded aid trucks, saying victims had been trampled or run over.

At least 112 people were killed and more than 280 wounded in the incident near Gaza City, Palestinian health officials said.

Medics said they could not cope with the flood of serious injuries, which came on the day the death toll in nearly five months of war passed 30,000, according to Palestinian health authorities.

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Israel disputed the account provided by officials in Hamas-run Gaza, which has been bombarded by Israeli forces for months in a war that began after the Palestinian militant group’s deadly rampage in southern Israel on Oct. 7.

Its military said the trucks were operated by private contractors as part of an aid operation that it had been overseeing for the past four nights.

One official said there had been two incidents, hundreds of metres apart, in the first of which dozens were killed or injured as they tried to take aid from the trucks and were trampled or run over.

Subsequently, as the trucks moved off, he said there was a second incident in which some people in the crowd approached troops who felt under threat and opened fire, killing an unknown number in a “limited response”. He dismissed the casualty toll given by Gaza authorities but gave no figure himself.

In a later briefing, Israel Defense Forces spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari also said dozens had been trampled to death or injured in a fight to take supplies off the trucks.

He said tanks escorting the trucks had subsequently fired warning shots to disperse the crowd, and backed away when events began to get out of hand. “No IDF strike was conducted towards the aid convoy,” he said.