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International calls for a truce and an investigation after the tragedy in Gaza

Photo: Mahmoud Essa Associated Press Palestinians among the ruins in the Jabaliya refugee camp in the Gaza Strip on Thursday

Adel Zaanoun – Agence France-Presse and Ilan Ben Zion – Associated Press respectively in the Gaza Strip and Jerusalem


  • Middle East

The international community stressed the urgency of a humanitarian ceasefire and called for an investigation after Israeli shooting of Palestinian civilians and a stampede during a humanitarian aid distribution in Gaza on Thursday, which left more than 110 dead, according to Hamas.

Almost five months after the start of the war between Israel and Hamas, incessant Israeli strikes against the devastated Palestinian territory left at least 83 dead overnight, the Ministry of Health said on Friday of the Palestinian Islamist movement.

While the human toll continues to rise with more than 30,200 deaths in Gaza since the start of the conflict according to this ministry, 2.2 million of the 2.4 million inhabitants of this small territory besieged by Israel are threatened. of famine, according to the UN.

On Thursday, a doctor at al-Chifa hospital and witnesses said Israeli soldiers fired on a hungry crowd rushing toward aid trucks in Gaza City, in the north. The death toll is 112 dead and 760 injured, according to the Hamas Ministry of Health.

An Israeli army official confirmed “limited shooting” from soldiers feeling “threatened” and spoke of “a stampede during which dozens of residents were killed and injured, some knocked down by the aid trucks”.

This tragedy, recognized by American President Joe Biden, will complicate talks for a truce in the war triggered by an unprecedented Hamas attack carried out on October 7 in southern Israel from the Gaza Strip. , where the Palestinian Islamist movement took power in 2007.

A faithful ally of Israel, the United States demanded “answers” ​​from Benjamin Netanyahu’s government after Thursday’s tragedy, calling for a “thorough investigation”.

“The best way to alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian people is to reach agreement on a temporary ceasefire […],” the State Department said Thursday, speaking of an “incredibly desperate” situation in Gaza.

“Effective investigation”

Italy and Spain condemned the drama in Gaza, deeming a ceasefire “urgent”. France denounced shootings against civilians “targeted by Israeli soldiers” and called for an “independent investigation”. Germany called on Israel to “conduct a full investigation” and called for a “humanitarian truce”.

China called for a “ceasefire” and to guarantee the entry of humanitarian aid into the territory, subject to the green light from Israel.

A heavyweight in the Arab world, Saudi Arabia has condemned “the targeting of defenseless civilians by the occupying forces”.

Qatar, one of the main mediators in the war, called for “international action to immediately end [Israeli] aggression.”

The UN Security Council met urgently and behind closed doors, after the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, “shocked”, pleaded for “an effective independent investigation “.

According to a witness, some “aid trucks got too close to army tanks deployed in the area and the crowd stormed the trucks. The soldiers fired into the crowd because people were getting too close to the tanks.”

The tragedy took place the day the Hamas Ministry of Health announced that the death toll from the war had exceeded the threshold of 30,000 dead in Gaza, most of them civilians. A latest report published on Friday shows 30,228 deaths since October 7.

That day, infiltrated Hamas commandos carried out an attack in southern Israel that caused the deaths of at least 1,160 people, mostly civilians, according to a count by the AFP based on official Israeli data.

Around 250 people were also kidnapped and taken to Gaza. According to Israel, 130 hostages are still being held there, 31 of whom are believed to have died, after the release of 105 hostages in exchange for 240 Palestinians imprisoned by Israel during a truce at the end of November.

New Israeli raids

In retaliation, Israel vowed to annihilate Hamas, classified as a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union.

His army relentlessly shelled the Gaza Strip and launched a ground offensive on October 27 during which soldiers took vast areas and gradually advanced from the north to the south of this strip of land of approximately 40 km long and 10 wide.

According to the Hamas government on Friday, the Israeli air force carried out dozens of strikes across the territory, notably in Khan Younes and Rafah, in the south. Fighting between Israeli soldiers and Hamas continues in Gaza City as well as Khan Younes, witnesses said.

After Thursday's drama, Joe Biden indicated that there would “probably” be no truce agreement before the start of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting for Muslims, which begins around from March 10 or 11.

Qatar, the United States and Egypt are trying, unsuccessfully so far, to secure an agreement providing for a six-week truce combined with the release of hostages in exchange for Palestinian prisoners and the entry into Gaza of significant quantities of aid.

The Israeli offensive has destroyed entire neighborhoods and forced 1.7 million people to flee their homes.

According to the UN, nearly 1.5 million displaced people have reached Rafah, backed by the closed border with Egypt, where the population massed with no escape fears a ground offensive by Israel.

Also read

  • Hamas accuses Israel of 'carnage' during humanitarian aid distribution in Gaza
  • Gaza Strip death toll nears 30,000, says 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