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Gaza health authorities say Israeli fire kills 104 waiting for aid

  • Death toll in nearly five months of war passes 30,000 Palestinians
Published February 29, 2024

CAIRO: Health authorities in Gaza said on Thursday Israeli fire on people waiting for aid near Gaza City had killed 104 Palestinians and wounded 280, with one hospital saying it had received 10 bodies and dozens of injured patients.

A spokesperson for Israel’s military said there was no knowledge of shelling at that location. The military later said that dozens of people were hurt as a result of pushing and trampling when aid trucks arrived in northern Gaza.

An Israeli source said troops opened fire at “several people” in the crowd who posed a threat to them.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ office said he “condemned the ugly massacre conducted by the Israeli occupation army this morning against the people who waited for the aid trucks at the Nabulsi roundabout”.

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Gaza Health Ministry spokesperson Ashraf al-Qidra said the incident took place at al-Nabusi roundabout west of Gaza City in the northern part of the enclave.

Medical teams were unable to cope with the volume and severity of injuries from dozens of wounded people who arrived at al-Shifa hospital, Qidra said.

The head of Kamal Adwan hospital in Gaza City, Hussam Abu Safieyah, said it had received 10 dead bodies and dozens of wounded patients from the incident west of the city.

“We don’t know how many there are in other hospitals,” Safieyah told Reuters by phone.

Hamas warned in a statement that the incident could lead to the failure of talks aimed at a deal on a truce and hostage release.

“The negotiations conducted by the movement’s leadership are not an open process at the expense of the blood of our people,” it said, referring to Thursday’s deaths and saying Israel would be responsible for any failure of the talks.

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Videos show bodies in trucks

The war in Gaza began when Hamas sent fighters into Israel on Oct. 7, killing around 1,200 people and seizing 253 hostages, according to Israeli tallies. Gaza health authorities say 30,000 people have been confirmed killed in the enclave since then, with thousands of others believed buried under rubble.

Videos posted on social media showed trucks carrying many dead bodies. Reuters verified the location of one video to al-Nabulsi roundabout that showed several men who were motionless, as well as several wounded people.

Another video, which Reuters was unable to verify, showed bloodstained people being carried in a truck, medics treating people on a hospital floor, and bodies being wrapped in shrouds.

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“We don’t want aid like this. We don’t want aid and bullets together. There are many martyrs,” one man was saying in a video.

Referring to the incident, an Israeli military spokesperson said: “There is no knowledge of Israeli shelling in the area.”

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