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Fatal shooting during food distribution in Gaza

Photo: Mohammed Abed Agence France-Presse Palestinian children fetch water in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on Saturday March 30.

Adel Zaanoun – Agence France-Presse and Catherine Hours – Agence France-Presse in Jerusalem

2:31 p.m.

  • Middle East

Dozens of Palestinians have been killed in incessant Israeli strikes on the war-devastated Gaza Strip, where a distribution of food to starving residents once again turned tragic on Saturday, leaving five people dead.

Faced with the risk of famine in the besieged Palestinian territory where the war between Israel and Palestinian Hamas knows no respite, a flotilla left Cyprus towards Gaza to transport 400 tonnes of humanitarian aid. Aid which remains very insufficient in the face of immense needs.

Almost six months after the start of the war triggered by an unprecedented attack by the Islamist movement Hamas against Israel, the Israeli army carried out new raids on the Gaza Strip, leaving at least 82 dead in the past 24 hours, according to the Hamas Ministry of Health.

A sign of a desperate situation, a food distribution in the city of Gaza (north) where aid is arriving with great difficulty, caused chaos during which five Palestinians were killed by gunfire and a stampede, according to a member of the Palestinian Red Crescent.

Before dawn, thousands of people waited at a roundabout for the arrival of around fifteen aid trucks. AFP images show trucks honking and driving forward as shots ring out. Several seconds of chaos ensue with ambulances with sirens blaring trying to make their way through.

According to testimonies collected by AFP, people responsible for supervising the distribution fired into the air, injuring several people, while the trucks ran over others. Witnesses also speak of “heavy” fire from Israeli tanks positioned a few hundred meters away, without specifying in which direction they were firing.

The Israeli army said it had no information about the incident.

“Not enough water”

“We don’t have enough food and water,” Amany, 44, a Palestinian mother of seven in Gaza City’s Chati camp, told AFP.

Several aid distributions in this city have turned tragic since February with more than a hundred deaths in total. At the start of the week, 18 Palestinians died, including twelve drowned at sea, while trying to recover food parachuted by Arab and Western planes.

Strictly controlled by the Israeli army which has besieged the Gaza Strip since October 9, aid by land, coming mainly from Egypt via Rafah, enters the Palestinian territory in dribs and drabs.

A maritime corridor was opened in mid-March between Cyprus and Gaza with the arrival of a first aid boat.

UN agencies have been warning for weeks that the majority of the 2.4 million inhabitants are threatened with famine, particularly in the northern Gaza Strip.

They affirm that airdrops of aid and the sea route are not enough and that only the opening of land access can help relieve the population.

Israel accuses UN agencies of being incapable of managing and distributing aid.

On October 7, Hamas commandos infiltrated from Gaza carried out an attack in southern Israel that resulted in the deaths of at least 1,160 people, mostly civilians, according to a tally by the AFP established from official Israeli data.

According to Israel, around 250 people were also kidnapped and 130 of them are still hostages, including 34 who died, in Gaza where Hamas took power in 2007.

Israel vowed to destroy Hamas, considered a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union, and launched an offensive, first by air, then by land, in Gaza, its soldiers progressing from north to south of the small strip of land, up to the gates of Rafah.

In total, more than 32,705 Palestinians were killed in the large-scale Israeli offensive, according to the Hamas Ministry of Health.

Fighting near hospitals

While awaiting a new round of indirect negotiations between Israel and Hamas via international mediators with a view to a truce, the Israeli army continues its operations in Gaza despite the vote on a resolution by the UN Security Council demanding a immediate ceasefire.

On Saturday, it said it struck dozens of targets in central Gaza. According to the Hamas press office, some strikes targeted homes.

The army, which accuses Hamas fighters of hiding in hospitals, announced that it was continuing, for the 13th consecutive day, its “operations” in and around the largest al-Chifa hospital complex in Gaza City.

During a raid on a building in the complex, several Palestinian fighters were killed, including a Hamas leader, according to her.

According to Hamas, Israeli troops are also present in the areas of the Nasser and Al-Amal hospitals in Khan Younes (south).

Further south, in Rafah, there are 1.5 million Palestinians, the majority displaced, who fear an Israeli ground offensive wanted by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The World Health Organization estimates that some 9,000 patients from the Gaza Strip must be urgently evacuated for treatment, with the Palestinian territory having only 10 hospitals operating at a minimum.

Abroad, thousands of people marched in London and Paris to call for a ceasefire.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116