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Aid delivery deaths in Gaza spark outrage

Israeli forces fire as Palestinians rush for food, saying 'stampede' occurred

By JAN YUMUL in Hong Kong | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2024-03-02 07:12

Injured Palestinians receive medical treatment in Kamal Adwan Hospital after Israeli forces opened fire on Palestinians waiting for humanitarian aid trucks at Al-Rashid Street in Gaza City, Gaza, on Thursday. MAHMUD ISA/ANADOLU/GETTY IMAGES

Conflicting reports

Israeli sources confirmed to Agence France-Presse that Israeli forces at the scene did open fire, having perceived the crowds near the trucks as a "threat".

But a spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said many of the dead were crushed by the trucks themselves.

"Aid trucks were overwhelmed by people trying to loot and drivers plowed into the crowd of people, ultimately killing tens of people," spokesman Avi Hyman said.

Umm Hamdan Abu Sultan, a woman waiting for aid near the scene, said: "They are the terrorists, not us.

"Our children are dying of hunger, we go to get a bag of flour to feed our children and they fire at them."

Condemnation over the attack have poured in from around the world.

China is shocked by the incident and strongly condemns the attacks on civilians waiting for aid in Gaza, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said on Friday.

"We mourn for the victims and send our sympathies to the injured," Mao said.

China urges relevant parties, especially Israel, to immediately end the violence, protect the safety of civilians, and ensure the access of humanitarian aid so as to avoid an even worse humanitarian catastrophe.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the incident and was "appalled by the tragic human toll of the conflict".

Turkiye accused Israel of committing "another crime against humanity" and condemning the Gazans to "famine" as civilians scavenge for dwindling supplies of food.

"The fact that Israel ... this time targets innocent civilians in a queue for humanitarian aid, is evidence that (Israel) aims consciously and collectively to destroy the Palestinian people," the Foreign Ministry said.

Saudi Arabia condemned the targeting of unarmed civilians and reiterated "the need to reach an immediate cease-fire".

The United Arab Emirates also called for "an independent and transparent investigation, and the punishment" of those responsible, and warned of a "catastrophic and dangerous humanitarian situation".

Qatar condemned "in the strongest terms the heinous massacre committed by the Israeli occupation", calling for "urgent international action" to halt the fighting in Gaza.

In the United States, President Joe Biden said the incident would complicate delicate cease-fire negotiations in the almost 5-month-old conflict, with the White House calling the deaths "tremendously alarming".

The European Union's chief, Ursula von der Leyen, on Friday said she was "deeply disturbed by images from Gaza".

France said "the fire by Israeli soldiers against civilians trying to access food is unjustifiable".

Colombian President Gustavo Petro denounced what he called a "genocide" of the Palestinian people and suspended purchases of weapons from Israel.

Agencies and Zhou Jin in Beijing contributed to this story.



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