Over 100 Palestinians killed in Gaza aid incident

Health authorities in Gaza reported that Israeli forces shot dead over 100 Palestinians who were awaiting an aid delivery on Thursday. However, Israel attributes the fatalities to the chaos around the aid trucks, stating that the victims were either trampled or run over.

Palestinian health officials announced that the incident near Gaza City resulted in at least 112 deaths and over 280 injuries, marking the largest loss of civilian lives in recent weeks. Hamas warned that this event could threaten the ongoing negotiations in Qatar, which aim to secure a ceasefire and the release of Israeli hostages. U.S. President Joe Biden acknowledged that the incident would indeed complicate the talks.

With nearly five months of conflict resulting in over 30,000 deaths, as reported by Palestinian health authorities, medics in Gaza expressed their inability to handle the surge of severe injuries. Israel countered the narrative from officials in Hamas-controlled Gaza, emphasizing that the area has been under heavy bombardment since Hamas’s attack in southern Israel on October 7.

The Israeli military clarified that the aid trucks were managed by private contractors under its supervision over the past four nights. An Israeli official detailed two separate events leading to the casualties: initially, dozens were either trampled or run over while attempting to access aid from the trucks. A subsequent incident involved the crowd approaching troops, who, feeling threatened, opened fire, resulting in an unspecified number of deaths described as a “limited response.” The official contested the casualty figures provided by Gaza but did not provide an alternative count.

Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari of the Israel Defense Forces later explained that the fatalities and injuries were primarily due to a scramble for the supplies, with tanks firing warning shots to disperse the crowd and stepping back as the situation escalated. He emphasized, “No IDF strike was conducted towards the aid convoy,” and stated the operation’s goal was to secure a humanitarian corridor for the aid convoy’s safe passage.

The U.S. State Department and the French foreign ministry are both actively seeking more information on the incident.