Many aid distribution victims were shot in Gaza: UN

Published March 3, 2024
Children stand amid the rubble of a mosque and makeshift shelters that were destroyed in Israeli strikes in Deir El-Balah in central Gaza, on Saturday.—AFP
Children stand amid the rubble of a mosque and makeshift shelters that were destroyed in Israeli strikes in Deir El-Balah in central Gaza, on Saturday.—AFP

GAZA CITY: A UN team has reported seeing “a large number” of gunshot wounds among Gazans after Israeli troops opened fire on Palestinian civilians scrambling for food supplies near an aid convoy, killing 115 people and wounded more than 750.

The aid convoy deaths pushed the number of Palestinian dead in Gaza since Oct 7 to 30,320, mostly women and children. Hossam Abu Safiya, director of Gaza City’s Kamal Adwan Hospital, said all the casualties it admitted were hit by “bullets and shrapnel from (Israeli) occupation forces”.

There are contradictions within the Israeli claims; BBC News reported that officials first claimed that “dozens of Gazans were injured as a result of pushing and trampling” during looting, then saying that tanks in the area “tried to disperse the mob with a few warning shots”.

In a video statement posted on X, the Israeli armed forces spokesman, Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari claimed: “Hundreds became thousands and things got out of hand.”

11 killed as airstrike hits tent in Rafah; Hamas-Israel talks set to continue in Cairo

A UN team visited some of the wounded from the aid incident, in Gaza City’s Al Shifa Hospital, on Friday and saw a “large number of gunshot wounds”, a spoke­sperson for UN chief Antonio Guterres said.

The hospital received 70 of the dead, and around 200 wounded were still there during the team’s visit.

11 Palestinians killed

Separately, at least 11 Palestinians were killed on Saturday when an Israeli air strike hit a tent in Rafah, in Gaza’s south where people have been seeking refuge from Israel’s devastating bombardment.

Another 50 people were wounded in the strike next to a hospital in the Tel Al Sultan area of Rafah. One of the dead was a medic at the hospital.

“The strike hit one tent, where people took shelter, directly, shrapnel came inside the hospital where I and friends were sitting, we survived by a miracle,” a witness said by phone from the area.

And in the territory’s north, three people searching for food in farmland in Beit Hanoun were killed by Israeli strikes.

Ceasefire uncertainty

The killings came amid uncertainty over whether negotiations on a Gaza ceasefire would resume on Sunday.

US President Joe Biden has said he hopes a ceasefire will be in place by the time Ramazan begins on March 10 or 11.

Two Egyptian security sources said Israeli and Hamas delegations were expected to arrive in Cairo on Sunday to resume indirect talks.

However, Israel’s Ynet news agency, citing an unnamed senior official, reported that Israel would not send a delegation to the Cairo talks until it received a full list of prisoners held in Gaza who were alive.

Published in Dawn, March 3rd, 2024

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