More than 100 civilians dead in Gaza 'massacre' - RTHK
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More than 100 civilians dead in Gaza 'massacre'

2024-03-01 HKT 00:44
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  • People seek treatment at the al-Shifa hospital after what the Palestinian president described as an "ugly massacre". Photo: AP
    People seek treatment at the al-Shifa hospital after what the Palestinian president described as an "ugly massacre". Photo: AP
Gaza health authorities said more than 100 Palestinians were shot dead by Israeli forces as they waited for an aid delivery on Thursday, but Israel challenged the death toll and said many of the victims were run over by aid trucks.

At least 104 people were killed and more than 280 wounded in the incident near Gaza City, Palestinian health officials said, and the death toll in nearly five months of war passed 30,000.

Medical teams said they were unable to cope with the volume and severity of the injuries, with dozens of wounded taken to the al-Shifa hospital, which is only partially operational after Israeli raids.

The incident caused the largest loss of civilian lives 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".

Israel disputed the account provided by health officials in Hamas-run Gaza, which has been bombarded by Israeli forces for months in the war that began after the Palestinian militant group's deadly attack on southern Israel on October 7.

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

In the first incident, 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 by the trucks. As the trucks left, he said, a second incident occurred in which some of the people who rushed the convoy approached Israeli forces including a tank, which then opened fire.

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

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

Ashraf Al-Qidra, spokesperson for the Gaza health ministry, dismissed the Israeli version of events. He said the latest comments showed Israel "had pre-plotted intentions to carry out the new crime and massacre", and that the death toll could rise.

Palestinian militant group Hamas, which has run the Gaza strip since 2007, said in a statement that the incident could jeopardise talks in Qatar aimed at securing a ceasefire and the release of Israeli hostages being held by Hamas in the enclave. (Reuters)

More than 100 civilians dead in Gaza 'massacre'