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More Than 100 Palestinians Are Killed During Gaza Food Distribution

GreenWatch Desk World News 2024-02-29, 11:27pm

More than 100 Palestinians were killed in Gaza City on Thursday as Israeli troops opened fire on people trying to get food from humanitarian aid trucks, but accounts of the attack remained at odds.

Gaza hospital officials initially reported an Israeli strike on the crowd at the al-Nabusi roundabout in the western part of the city. Witnesses later said Israeli troops opened fire as people pulled flour and canned goods off trucks, reports VOA.
Israeli officials acknowledged that troops opened fire, saying they did so because they thought the people rushing toward the aid trucks “posed a threat.”
The military had at first said that “dozens were killed and injured from pushing, trampling and being run over by the trucks.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office offered a similar explanation, saying many of the dead were crushed by the trucks after “aid trucks were overwhelmed by people trying to loot.”
Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry said with Thursday’s incident, the death toll now tops 30,000 in the nearly five-month Israeli war against Hamas militants that started October 7 with a shock Hamas attack on Israel that killed 1,200 people.
Palestinians walk through the destruction from the Israeli offensive in Jabaliya refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, Feb. 29, 2024.
In Washington Thursday, U.S. President Joe Biden said a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza was now unlikely to happen by Monday, the timeline that he had predicted earlier this week.
Asked by reporters whether he expected that to happen, Biden said that "hope springs eternal" and that he had been speaking to regional leaders about a cease-fire, but added "probably not by Monday."
The Israel Defense Forces reported carrying out ground operations in northern Gaza on Thursday, as well as airstrikes in the Khan Younis area in the southern part of the territory.
Palestinians mourn near bodies at Kamal Edwan Hospital in Beit Lahia, in the northern Gaza Strip, on Feb. 29, 2024, after Israeli soldiers allegedly opened fire at Gaza residents who rushed towards trucks loaded with humanitarian aid .
In Geneva, United Nations human rights chief Volker Türk said all parties in the Israel-Hamas war had committed war crimes.
"It is time — well past time — for peace, investigation and accountability,” Türk told the U.N. Human Rights Council.
Türk also warned about a planned Israeli offensive in Rafah, the area of southern Gaza where an estimated 1.5 million Palestinians are currently living, many of them having fled other areas in search of safety.
Türk said an offensive in Rafah "would take the nightmare being inflicted on people in Gaza into a new, dystopian, dimension."
Israeli officials have said they would evacuate civilians from Rafah, but they have not given any details about where the Palestinians might be able to go. Egypt, which borders Rafah, has said it will not open its borders. Much of Gaza has been leveled during Israel's massive counteroffensive since the October start of the war.
The U.N. said Wednesday that aid workers trying to distribute or receive humanitarian aid in the Gaza Strip are facing life-threatening challenges.
Speaking to reporters in New York, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the dangers presented by the conflict have prompted repeated U.N. calls for a humanitarian cease-fire.
“Yes, there are trucks that have crossed from Israel into Gaza. The situation in Gaza is, as we’ve described it numerous times, almost impossible for us to do humanitarian work,” Dujarric said.
“There is an active conflict going on. There’s a breakdown of law and order. There is insufficient coordination on the security end, on deconfliction with Israel. We’ve laid out all the challenges. That doesn’t stop us from working.”