Published: 16:21, February 29, 2024 | Updated: 11:10, March 1, 2024
112 Palestinians killed in Gaza as Israel fires on aid seekers
By Xinhua

Palestinians inspect the rubble of destroyed buildings after an Israeli airstrike in Nusseirat refugee camp, central Gaza Strip, Feb 29, 2024. (PHOTO / AP)

GAZA/AMMAN/TEHRAN - At least 112 Palestinians were killed and 760 others wounded by an Israeli attack on civilians waiting to receive humanitarian aid in the west of Gaza City, according to Palestinian medical and security sources.

"The Israeli army committed a new massacre against the hungry people who went to the west of the city to get some flour for their families," Ashraf al-Qedra, the spokesperson of the Hamas-run Health Ministry, said in a press statement.

Al-Qedra added that the victims were transferred to the hospitals of Al-Shifa, Al-Maamadani, and Kamal Odwan, where medical teams were struggling to treat a number of serious cases with limited capabilities.

"Unfortunately, the number of deaths would increase... Most of the causalities were shot on the upper parts of their bodies," Al-Qedra told Xinhua, calling on the international community to stop the war launched by Israel.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday condemned the killing of more than 100 Palestinians waiting for aid in northern Gaza, said his spokesman.

"The secretary-general condemns the incident today in northern Gaza in which more than 100 people were reportedly killed or injured while seeking life-saving aid. The desperate civilians in Gaza need urgent help, including those in the besieged north where the United Nations has not been able to deliver aid in more than a week," said Stephane Dujarric, the spokesman, in a statement.

Spokesman for Jordan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sufian Qudah reiterated the kingdom's condemnation and rejection of Israel's persistent targeting of civilians in the Palestinian territory, as stated in a ministry statement. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani on Thursday condemned the deadly attack. He made the remarks in a post on social media platform X, describing the attack as "barbaric".

Injured people sit inside Shifa Hospital on  Feb 29, 2024 in Gaza City. Israeli troops fired on a crowd of Palestinians waiting for aid in Gaza City on Thursday, witnesses said. (PHOTO / AP)

So far, there are 30,035 Palestinians killed and more than 70,457 others injured in Gaza, said the Hamas-run Health Ministry on Thursday

Local eyewitnesses told Xinhua that the Israeli army targeted with artillery and guns fire a gathering of civilians near the Nabulsi roundabout on Al-Rashid Street.

"My three brothers and I went there to get some flour when we heard heavy fire everywhere, and we thought that we would be killed," said Mohammed al-Alami, a Gaza-based Palestinian eyewitness.

"As we ran away from the attack, we saw many bodies on the ground and we helped transfer the victims to donkey-drawn carts and the trucks that were supposed to bring humanitarian aid," al-Alami said.

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The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Observatory, an independent non-profit organization active in Geneva, said in a press statement that its team "documented the Israeli army committing a bloody massacre when Israeli tanks fired shells and fire directly at thousands of hungry civilians who were waiting for aid trucks to arrive near the Nabulsi roundabout on Al-Rashid Street, west of Gaza."

But Avichai Adraee, a spokesperson of the Israeli army, said in a press statement that "during the entry of humanitarian aid trucks, a violent stampede broke out at the place by residents around the trucks, trying to loot the goods."

"As a result, part of the large crowd approached the soldiers who were protecting the trucks, which led them to open fire after they felt that their lives were in danger," Adraee said, adding that the army had begun investigating the incident.

Displaced Palestinians gather for food in Rafah, on the southern Gaza Strip on Feb 28, 2024, amid ongoing battles between Israel and the militant group Hamas. (PHOTO / AFP)

Meanwhile, the Palestinian presidency condemned the Israeli attack as "an integral part of the genocidal war committed by the Israeli government against our people."

"It was the international silence that encouraged Israel to persist in shedding Palestinian blood and to commit crimes unprecedented in modern history," the presidency said in a statement, calling on the international community, mainly the United States, to step up pressure on Israel to stop its war against the Palestinian people.

Responding to the incident, the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) threatened to stop its truce negotiations with Israel.

"The negotiations are not an open process, and we will not allow the path of negotiations, through which we seek to end the human suffering of our people, created by Israel, to be a cover for the enemy's continued crimes against our people in the Gaza Strip," Hamas said in a press statement.

The movement considered the attack "a brutal, heinous, unprecedented crime in which Israel once again challenges humanity, the international community, and its tools of justice and accountability."

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On Jan 25, about 20 Palestinians were killed and 150 others wounded by Israeli troops who opened fire at a gathering of Palestinians waiting to receive aid near the Kuwait Roundabout, south of Gaza City.

The Gaza City and the northern part of the Palestinian enclave are facing "catastrophic" conditions as a result of food scarcity caused by Israel's siege, according to the Hamas-run media office in Gaza.

In retaliation for the Oct 7, 2023 Hamas surprise attack on southern Israel, which killed about 1,200 people, Israel has been launching a relentless ground offensive and airstrikes on the Gaza Strip.

So far, there are 30,035 Palestinians killed and more than 70,457 others injured in Gaza, said the Hamas-run Health Ministry on Thursday.