24 April 2024,   03:25
More than 100 killed amid Israeli gunfire and panic at Gaza food lines – CNN

More than 100 people were killed amid devastating scenes in northern Gaza, where Israeli troops opened fire Thursday, triggering panic as hungry Palestinian civilians were gathering around food aid trucks, Palestinian officials and eyewitnesses said, writes CNN.

People had swarmed around newly arrived aid trucks in western Gaza City in the hope of getting food, when Israeli forces started shooting, according to witnesses. Many of the victims died when they were run over by trucks in the ensuing panic, according to one account.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza said 112 people were killed and more than 760 injured in the incident, one of the deadliest since the war in Gaza began. CNN is unable to independently confirm the figures and the Israeli military has given a different account of the circumstances.

In a briefing on Thursday, an Israeli military spokesperson said he couldn’t confirm the death toll. “I don’t have any figures”, he said, adding that “it was a limited response”.

The tragedy comes as the death toll in the Gaza war surpasses 30,000, with more than a half a million people in the enclave on the brink of famine, according to United Nations agencies, and as negotiations between Israel and Hamas reach a potentially pivotal moment.

The incident unfolded early on Friday when a group of trucks carrying desperately needed aid arrived at Haroun Al Rasheed Street in western Gaza City, in the Sheikh Ajleen neighbourhood.

A local journalist in Gaza, Khader Al Za’anoun, who was at the scene and witnessed the incident, said large crowds had gathered waiting for food to be distributed from aid trucks. But he said that the chaos and confusion that led to people being hit by the trucks only started once Israeli forces opened fire.

Israel confirmed its forces fired on people, saying crowds had threatened their troops, but disputed the account given by the ministry.

In an initial account, Israel said Gaza residents surrounded the aid trucks and looted the supplies. “During the incident, dozens of Gazans were injured as a result of pushing and trampling”, the Israel Defense Forces told CNN.