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Israeli forces shot ‘large number’ of Palestinians waiting for aid: UN

A woman sits among Palestinians at Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City after they were injured in an early morning incident when residents rushed towards an aid truck in Gaza City on February 29, 2024. (Photo by AFP)

A United Nations team says “a large number” of Palestinian civilians seeking food aid have been shot in the Gaza Strip after Israeli military forces opened fire on an aid convoy in the besieged territory.

According to UN chief Antonio Guterres’s spokesman, the UN team visited some of the wounded from the incident at Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza City on Friday, where they saw a “large number of gunshot wounds.”

The hospital received 70 of the dead, and around 200 wounded were still there during the team’s visit, Stephane Dujarric said, adding that from what the team saw “in terms of the patients who were alive getting treatments is that there was a large number of gunshot wounds.”

Hossam Abu Safiya, director of Kamal Adwan Hospital, also said all the casualties it admitted were hit by “bullets and shrapnel” from Israeli occupation forces.

Daniel Hagari, spokesman for the Israeli military, claimed that the regime’s troops had fired “a few warning shots” to try to disperse a “mob” that had “ambushed” the aid trucks.

The military spokesman went on to say that a “stampede” occurred when thousands of Gazans surrounded the aid convoy, leading to dozens of deaths and injuries, including some who were run over.

On Thursday, at least 115 people were killed and more than 750 others wounded as the Israeli forces opened fire on Palestinians who had surrounded a convoy of 38 aid trucks in Gaza.

The incident drew widespread condemnation, with the chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, accusing Israel of “the mass killing of Palestinians” seeking aid.

In a statement on X, the African Union said Mahamat strongly condemns the deadly Israeli attack, urging an international probe into the incident.

The latest Israeli crime comes as NGOs and UN experts have on several occasions voiced fears of famine in the besieged territory, which has been completely cut off from aid by the occupation since October last year.

Gaza’s Health Ministry has noted that thousands of people in north Gaza “are at risk of dying from dehydration and malnutrition.”

The ministry also reported on Friday that a total of 10 children had died of “malnutrition and dehydration”.

Jens Laerke, spokesman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), has noted that “a famine is almost inevitable” in Gaza unless things change.

The International Rescue Committee has also called for a “sustained ceasefire” and for land crossings into Gaza to be reopened to aid shipments.

Israel waged its genocidal war on Gaza on October 7 after the Palestinian Hamas resistance group carried out Operation Al-Aqsa Storm against the usurping entity in retaliation for its intensified atrocities against the Palestinian people.

Since the start of the offensive, the Tel Aviv regime has killed 30,320 Palestinians, mostly women and children.

The Tel Aviv regime has also imposed a “complete siege” on the territory, cutting off fuel, electricity, food, and water to the more than two million Palestinians living there.

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