Five more killed in Gaza aid delivery shooting, stampede

Published March 31, 2024
Palestinians inspect the damage to a building, following Israeli bombardment, in the Maghazi camp for Palestinian refugees in the central Gaza Strip on March 29, 2024. — AFP
Palestinians inspect the damage to a building, following Israeli bombardment, in the Maghazi camp for Palestinian refugees in the central Gaza Strip on March 29, 2024. — AFP

GAZA CITY: The Palestine Red Crescent said five people were killed and dozens wounded by gunfire and a stampede during an aid delivery Saturday in northern Gaza, where famine looms.

The Red Crescent said three of them had been shot dead.

Video footage shows a convoy of trucks moving past burning debris near the distribution point in pre-dawn darkness as people shout and gunfire echoes — some of which was warning shots, witnesses said.

Eyewitnesses told AFP that Israeli troops in the area opened fire and some moving trucks hit people trying to get the food.

However, the Israeli military claimed it “has no record of the incident described”.

WHO says 9,000 require evacuation for emergency care; death toll rises to 32,705

The Red Crescent said it happened after thousands of people gathered for the arrival of around 15 trucks of flour and other food, which was supposed to be handed out at Gaza City’s Kuwait roundabout, in the territory’s north.

The roundabout has been the scene of several chaotic and deadly aid distribution incidents, including one on March 23 in which the government said 21 people were killed by Israeli fire — a charge Israel denied.

A UN-backed report warned on March 19 that half of Gazans are experiencing “catastrophic” hunger, with famine projected to hit the north of the territory unless there is urgent intervention.

The report estimated that 1.1 million people — half the population, according to UN data — were facing catastrophic conditions.

The situation is particularly dire in the north of Gaza, where the United Nations says there are about 300,000 people — and where the report said famine was “imminent… projected to occur anytime between mid-March and May”.

Israel’s defence ministry body responsible for Palestinian civil affairs (COGAT) alleged the UN-backed assessment contained inaccuracies and questionable sources.

107,895 casualties

Fighting has not eased — including around the territory’s largest hospital — and the latest toll from the health ministry in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip said at least 82 more people were killed in the previous 24 hours.

Over the past five months, a total of 107,895 casualties have been reported in Gaza. According to the health ministry in Gaza, at least 32,705 people have been killed and 75,190 others wounded.

On Saturday, Israel’s military said it was continuing operations around Gaza’s largest hospital Al-Shifa for a 13th day. More than 50 Israeli air strikes were reported over the past day, with “civilian houses” targeted across the coastal territory, as well as tank fire in the Gaza City area and southern Gaza.

9,000 emergency patients: WHO

Some 9,000 patients in the Gaza Strip require evacuation for emergency care, with the war-torn Palestinian territory down to just 10 barely functioning hospitals, the head of the WHO said on Saturday. Before the escalation in Israeli strikes in October 2023, Gaza had 36 hospitals, according to the WHO.

“With only 10 hospitals minimally functional across the whole of #Gaza, thousands of patients continue to be deprived of health care,” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus wrote on X. Before the war, Gaza had 36 hospitals, according to the WHO.

“Around 9,000 patients urgently need to be evacuated abroad for lifesaving health services, including treatment for cancer, injuries from bombardments, kidney dialysis and other chronic conditions,” he said.

Gaza is subject to an almost complete blockade, and NGOs and the UN accuse Israel of preventing the delivery of humanitarian aid needed by the 2.4 million inhabitants.

Tedros said that so far, over 3,400 patients have been referred abroad through Rafah, including 2,198 wounded and 1,215 ill. “We urge Israel to speed up approvals for evacuations, so that critical patients can be treated. Every moment matters.”

Published in Dawn, March 31st, 2024

Opinion

Editorial

Elections in India
Updated 21 Apr, 2024

Elections in India

Independent accounts and spot reports are at variance with Modi-friendly TV anchors and they do not see an easy victory for the Indian premier.
IHC letter
21 Apr, 2024

IHC letter

THIS is a historic opportunity for the judiciary to define its institutional boundaries. It must not be squandered....
Olympic preparations
21 Apr, 2024

Olympic preparations

THIS past week marked the beginning of the 100-day countdown to the Paris Olympics, with the symbolic torch-lighting...
Isfahan strikes
Updated 20 Apr, 2024

Isfahan strikes

True de-escalation means Israel must start behaving like a normal state, not a rogue nation that threatens the entire region.
President’s speech
20 Apr, 2024

President’s speech

PRESIDENT Asif Ali Zardari seems to have managed to hit all the right notes in his address to the joint sitting of...
Karachi terror
20 Apr, 2024

Karachi terror

IS urban terrorism returning to Karachi? Yesterday’s deplorable suicide bombing attack on a van carrying five...