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Hamas accuses Israel of “massacre” during humanitarian aid distribution in Gaza

Photo: Agence France-Presse A Palestinian receives treatment at Kamal Edwan Hospital in Beit Lahia, following the “massacre” denounced by Hamas. Israel has not commented on these claims.

Guillaume Lavallée – Agence France-Presse and Adel Zaanoun – Agence France-Presse respectively in the Gaza Strip and Jerusalem

9:30 a.m.

  • Middle East

More than a hundred Palestinians were killed Thursday in Gaza during a humanitarian aid distribution that turned into chaos, Hamas announced, accusing Israeli soldiers of opening fire on a hungry crowd, while the war has already left more than 30,000 dead in the territory threatened by famine.

Israeli sources confirmed that soldiers, feeling “threatened,” fired live ammunition, but denied that the shots were responsible for the death toll. The army reported “dozens of dead and injured”, pushed or trampled by the crowd who “surrounded the trucks and looted” the cargo.

After almost five months of war between Israel and the Islamist movement, the UN estimates that 2.2 million people, the vast majority of the population, are threatened with famine in the Gaza Strip besieged by Israel, particularly in the north where destruction, fighting and looting make the delivery of humanitarian aid almost impossible.

On Thursday, a doctor at al-Chifa hospital in the northern Gaza City announced that soldiers had fired on “thousands of citizens” who were rushing towards aid trucks .

“The death toll from the al-Rashid Street massacre in Gaza City now stands at 104 dead and 760 injured,” said the Hamas Ministry of Health.

Witnesses told AFP of scenes in which thousands of people rushed towards aid trucks in a roundabout in the west of the city.

The Hamas Health Ministry announced early Thursday that “more than 30,000” people have been killed in Israeli military operations in Gaza since the war began on October 7, after bombings in the night which left 79 dead.

This war is already, by far, the deadliest of the five conflicts between Israel and the Islamist movement, which took power in Gaza in 2007.

The mediating countries have said they hope for a truce before the start of Ramadan, which begins on the evening of March 10 or 11, but without reporting any concrete progress.

“The death toll in Gaza has exceeded 30,000, the vast majority of them women and children. More than 70,000 Palestinians were injured. This appalling violence and suffering must end. Ceasefire”, launched the Director General of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, on the social network X.

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“No bread”

Across the Gaza Strip, civilians are caught daily in fighting and bombardments, which have spared no area, devastated entire neighborhoods and forced thousands of families to flee.

“We haven’t eaten bread for two months. Our children are starving,” Muhammad Yassin, a 35-year-old man from Zeitun in the north, told AFP who went out early in the morning to buy flour and found “thousands of people waiting for long hours to get one or two kilos of flour.”

“It’s a crime and a disaster. Such an unfair world,” he added.

According to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), humanitarian needs are “unlimited”. “Famine looms. Hospitals have turned into battlefields. One million children face daily trauma,” UNRWA said.

The war was sparked on October 7 by an unprecedented attack launched by Hamas commandos infiltrated from Gaza into southern Israel, which left at least 1,160 people dead, mostly civilians, according to a count of AFP produced from official Israeli data.

During the attack, some 250 people were kidnapped and taken to the Gaza Strip. According to Israel, 130 hostages are still being held there, 31 of whom are believed to have died, after the release of 105 hostages and 240 Palestinian prisoners held by Israel during a first truce in November.

In retaliation, Israel vowed to annihilate Hamas, which it considers, along with the United States and the European Union, to be a terrorist organization. Its army relentlessly shelled the Gaza Strip and launched a ground offensive in the north of the territory on October 27, which gradually extended to the south.

Fighting from north to south

Fighting, according to the army, continues to rage in the north in Zeitun, a district of Gaza City, as well as in the center of the territory and in Khan Younes, in the south.

Pushed ever further south as the fighting spread, hundreds of thousands of displaced people reached Rafah, a town stuck against the closed border with Egypt.

Nearly a million and a half Palestinians, according to the UN, are now massed, with no escape, in this daily bombarded city, where Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has promised to launch an offensive to defeat Hamas. in its “last bastion”.

Despite multiple international warnings, Mr. Netanyahu asserted that a truce would only “delay” such an offensive.

Rafah is the main entry point for humanitarian aid into Gaza, which receives the green light from Israel and arrives in very limited quantities from Egypt.

Qatar, the United States and Egypt are meanwhile trying to reach an agreement relating, according to a Hamas source, to a six-week truce, during which a hostage, among women , minors and sick elderly people, would be exchanged every day for ten Palestinians detained by Israel.

On Monday, US President Joe Biden spoke of “an agreement by the Israelis that they would not engage in operations during Ramadan” in order to “get all the hostages out.”

But Hamas is demanding in particular a definitive ceasefire before any agreement on the release of the hostages, as well as the lifting of the Israeli blockade imposed on Gaza since 2007 and the entry of increased humanitarian aid .

Israel for its part repeats that a truce should be accompanied by the release of all hostages and would not mean the end of the war, promising that it will continue until total elimination of Hamas.

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