Medic says 50 killed as Israel fires on Gazans rushing to aid trucks

Israeli forces shoot dead at least 50 people rushing towards trucks laden with humanitarian aid in a dire humanitarian crisis.

A Gaza emergency doctor said Thursday that Israeli forces shot dead at least 50 people who rushed towards trucks loaded with humanitarian aid for Gaza City residents.

A dire humanitarian crisis is unfolding in the war-torn territory, with food shortages greatest in the north of Gaza.

“The number of martyrs rose to at least 50… and more than 120 were injured, including women and children, as a result of the occupation’s shooting” on the crowd in northern Gaza City, Amjad Aliwa, director of the emergency department of Al-Shifa hospital, said in a statement.

The Israeli army said it was “checking” the reports on the incident, while the United Nations’ humanitarian office OCHA said it was “familiar with the reports”.

A witness told AFP the violence unfolded at the Nabulsi roundabout in the western part of Gaza City, when thousands of people rushed towards the trucks.

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“Trucks full of aid came too close to some army tanks that were in the area and the crowd, thousands of people, just stormed the trucks,” the witness said, declining to be named for safety reasons.

“The soldiers fired at the crowd as people came too close to the tanks.”

The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza put the death toll at 70 and said 280 people were injured, their conditions ranging “from critical to serious”.

The death toll could eventually top 100, said ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra.

“Medical teams are unable to deal with the volume and type of injuries arriving at Al-Shifa Medical Complex as a result of weak medical and human capabilities,” he said in a statement.

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Aid shortage

Gaza is facing an increasingly desperate humanitarian situation nearly five months into the war that kicked off with Hamas’s unprecedented attack on southern Israel on October 7, which resulted in the deaths of around 1,160 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally of official Israeli figures.

Israel’s relentless military campaign to eliminate Hamas has killed more than 30,000 people, mostly women and children, according to the health ministry, which does not specify how many fighters are included in the toll.

The UN estimates that 2.2 million people — the vast majority of Gaza’s population — are threatened with famine, particularly in the north where destruction, fighting and looting make the delivery of food almost impossible.

According to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, just over 2,300 aid trucks have entered the Gaza Strip in February, down by around 50 percent compared to January.

Thursday’s incident in Gaza City spurred a heated exchange at the Human Rights Council in Geneva, where Palestinian ambassador Ibrahim Mohammad Khraishi confronted his Israeli counterpart on the reported casualties.

“Are these human shields? Are these Hamas combatants?” Khraishi said.

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– By: © Agence France-Presse

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