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Death count in Gaza crosses 30,000 as Israeli 'firing' kill 104 Palestinians waiting for aid

An Israeli military spokesperson said it had no reports about shelling that allegedly killed 70 Palestinians. A quarter of Gaza's population, approximately 576,000 people, is facing starvation and the entire population desperately needs supplies as the death count crossed 30,000.

Aveek Banerjee Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Gaza City Updated on: February 29, 2024 23:44 IST
Israel hamas war, Palestinians killed
Image Source : REUTERS A woman stands at a house damaged in Israeli strikes in Rafah.

Gaza: At least 30,035 Palestinians have been killed, most of them women and children, and 70,457 others have been wounded in the nearly five-month-long Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip, according to the territory's Health Ministry. This came after health officials said Israeli opened fire on Palestinians waiting for aid, killing more than 104 and wounded 280 others.

Gaza City and the rest of northern Gaza were the first targets of Israel's air, sea and ground offensive launched in response to Hamas' October 7 attack. The area has suffered widespread devastation and has been largely isolated from the rest of the territory for months, with little aid entering. Aid groups say it has become nearly impossible to deliver humanitarian assistance in most of Gaza, in part because of the crowds of desperate people who overwhelm aid convoys.

Israeli troops opened fire at 'several people' among a crowd that surrounded aid trucks in the Gaza Strip after feeling under threat, an Israeli source said on Thursday. The military later said dozens of people were hurt as a result of pushing and trampling when aid trucks arrived in northern Gaza.

The head of Kamal Adwan Hospital in Gaza City, Hussam Abu Safieyah, said it had received 10 dead bodies and dozens of wounded patients from the incident west of the city. "We don't know how many there are in other hospitals," Safieyah told Reuters. Hamas warned in a statement that the incident could lead to the failure of talks aimed at a deal on a truce and hostage release.

India Tv - Israel Hamas war, Palestinians killed, death count

Image Source : REUTERSA Palestinian man holds the key to his damaged house in Gaza.

Referring to the incident, an Israeli military spokesperson said: "There is no knowledge of Israeli shelling in the area". However, videos posted on social media showed trucks carrying many dead bodies. The war in Gaza began when Hamas sent fighters into Israel on Oct. 7, killing around 1,200 people and seizing 253 hostages, according to Israeli tallies.

War crimes committed by all parties: UN

Fares Afana, the head of the ambulance service at the Kamal Adwan Hospital, said medics arriving at the scene found “dozens or hundreds” lying on the ground. He said there were not enough ambulances to collect all the dead and wounded and that some were being brought to hospitals on donkey carts.

Israel has vowed to continue the war until it destroys Hamas' military and governing capabilities and returns the over 100 hostages still held by the group.  So far, intense negotiations between the US, Qatar and Egypt to broker a ceasefire have not yielded any results as the Israeli military continues its offensive ahead of Ramadan.

Meanwhile, UN human rights chief Volker Turk on Thursday said war crimes had been committed by all parties in the conflict between Israel and Hamas, calling for them to be investigated and for those responsible to be held accountable. 

"Clear violations of international human rights and humanitarian laws, including war crimes and possibly other crimes under international law, have been committed by all parties," Turk told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. Turk, who was presenting a report on the human rights situation in Gaza and in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, said his office had recorded "many incidents that may amount to war crimes by Israeli forces".

A quarter of Gaza's population faces starvation

Amid a perilous situation in the Gaza Strip caused by the Israel-Hamas war, people are resorting to firing and looting aid trucks that have complicated humanitarian deliveries in the war-torn territory. This comes at a time when a quarter of Gaza's population, approximately 576,000 people, is very close to famine and the entire population desperately needs essential supplies.

The officials from the UN humanitarian office and the UN’s food and agriculture organisations described a grim picture of all 2.3 million people in Gaza facing crisis levels of food insecurity or worse, and civil order breaking down, especially in the north where food and other humanitarian supplies are scarce.

UN humanitarian coordinator Ramesh Ramasingham told the UN Security Council that "there is every possibility for further deterioration", adding that one in six children under the age of two in northern Gaza are suffering from "acute malnutrition and wasting", causing a total breakdown of civil order.

(with inputs from Reuters, AP)

ALSO READ | Israel-Hamas war: Aid trucks being looted in Gaza as population nears famine


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