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Gaza officials say more than 100 killed waiting for aid. Israel disputes details and death toll

Gaza health authorities said Israeli forces on Thursday shot dead more than 100 Palestinians as they waited for an aid delivery. Israel challenged the death toll and said many of the victims were run over by aid trucks.

Death toll in Gaza now over 30,000, officials there say, since war broke out after Hamas-led attacks

A bearded man with an anguished look on his face embraces a person whose face is not visible. Both are standing in front of a crowd of people outdoors.

Gaza health authorities said Israeli forces on Thursday shot dead more than 100 Palestinians as they waited for an aid delivery, but Israel challenged the death toll and said many of the victims were run over by aid trucks.

At least 112 people were killed and more than 280 wounded in the incident near Gaza City, Palestinian health officials said, as the overall death toll from nearly five months of war in Gaza surpassed 30,000, with an additional 70,000 wounded.

Medics said they could not cope with the volume and severity of injuries from Thursday's event. Dozens of people were taken to Al-Shifa Hospital, which is only partially operational after Israeli raids.

Hamas said the incident could jeopardize talks in Qatar aimed at securing a ceasefire and the release of Israeli hostages Hamas and other militants are holding. Around 253 people were taken hostage during the Oct. 7 Hams-led attack on Israel, and about 130 are thought to still be in Gaza, with about a quarter of them dead, according to Israeli authorities.

When asked if he thought Thursday's event would complicate the talks, U.S. President Joe Biden said, "I know it will."

The White House said Biden discussed the "tragic and alarming incident" with the leaders of Egypt and Qatar, as well as ways to secure the release of Hamas hostages and a six-week ceasefire.

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The U.S. is urgently seeking information on what took place, the State Department said, adding that Washington will push for answers from Israel, which said it is investigating.

The loss of civilian lives was the biggest in weeks. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said it was an "ugly massacre conducted by the Israeli occupation army on people who waited for aid trucks at the Nabulsi roundabout."

Several people are shown sitting or standing inside a medical building. Vertical drips of liquid are present in several instances.

The UN condemned the deaths and injuries. It said it had not been able to deliver supplies to Gaza's north in more than a week and was not involved in the distribution Thursday.

Israeli military reviewing incident

Israel disputed the account provided by health officials in Gaza, which is controlled by Hamas and has been bombarded by Israeli forces for months in a war that began after the Palestinian militant group's deadly rampage on Oct. 7, in which about 1,200 people died.

An Israeli military official said two separate incidents occurred as the convoy of trucks passed into northern Gaza from the south along the main coastal road.

In the first, he said, aid trucks were surrounded by hundreds of people and, in the confusion, dozens were injured or killed, by being trampled or run over.

As the trucks left, he said, some of those who had rushed the convoy approached Israeli forces, including a tank, which then opened fire.

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Israeli forces shot dead more than 112 Palestinians as they waited for an aid delivery near Gaza City on Thursday, say local health authorities. Israel says soldiers shot at people who “posed a threat,” while others were trampled and run over as they rushed towards a convoy of aid trucks. Paul Adams, the BBC's diplomatic correspondent in Jerusalem, says the tragedy illustrates how desperate and hungry the people of Gaza are. He spoke to As It Happens host Nil Köksal.

"The soldiers fired warning shots in the air and then fired towards those who posed a threat and did not move away," he told journalists. "This is what we understand. We're continuing to review the circumstances."

He said he did not believe the death toll from Palestinian authorities but provided no Israeli estimate, saying: "It was a limited response."

Videos posted on social media showed trucks carrying many dead bodies. Reuters verified the location of one video to al-Nabulsi roundabout that showed several men who were motionless, as well as several wounded people.

In a post on X, UN aid chief Martin Griffiths said he was "appalled."

"Even after close to five months of brutal hostilities, Gaza still has the ability to shock us," he said.

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UN rights chief says war crimes have been committed

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

Smoke billows over the Gaza Strip amid Israeli bombardment on Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024.

"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," Türk told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

"It is time — well past time — for peace, investigation and accountability."

Türk, 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."

He said there were also indications that Israeli forces have engaged in "indiscriminate or disproportionate targeting" in violation of international law.

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Israel has said it is doing all it can to minimize harm to civilians.

Türk said Palestinian armed groups launching indiscriminate projectiles across southern Israel and the holding of hostages also violated international humanitarian law.

UN Human Rights Chief <a href="https://twitter.com/volker_turk?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@volker_turk</a>'s new report <a href="https://twitter.com/UN_HRC?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@UN_HRC</a> today:<br><br>There are no bounds, no words to capture the horrors unfolding in <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Gaza?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Gaza</a>.<br><br>We must see the humanity of the other &amp; overcome mindsets engraved by generations of harm &amp; rage.


Last month, the International Court of Justice in The Hague ordered Israel to prevent acts of genocide against Palestinians and do more to help civilians, although it stopped short of ordering a ceasefire.

Türk said the prospect of an Israeli ground assault in the southern border town of Rafah, where some 1.5 million people are estimated to be crammed after fleeing their homes further north to escape Israel's offensive, "would take the nightmare being inflicted on people in Gaza into a new, dystopian, dimension."

WATCH | More than 100 reportedly killed during aid delivery in Gaza:

Israel accused of opening fire on Gazans receiving aid

5 hours ago

Duration 2:18

More than 100 civilian Palestinians were killed and many others injured while attempting to receive aid in northern Gaza. Health officials say they were fired on by the Israeli military, while Israeli officials say it happened while people rushed the aid trucks.

With files from The Associated Press

Credit belongs to : www.cbc.ca

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