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Dozens dead after violence near aid trucks in Gaza City

Ethan Bronner and Fares Akram, Bloomberg News on

Published in News & Features

“The first truck arrived and stopped 300 meters away from the checkpoint,” he said. “People swarmed the truck and thousands proceeded further to other trucks, looking for flour.”

He said 20 trucks entered, the first seven of them carrying water and canned food, and five others with flour.

“People went further south toward the flour trucks and got closer to the tanks and the shooting started,” he said. “Trucks were invisible because thousands of people climbed over them.”

The episode — shootings, stumbling, chaos, and running away with aid — lasted for about half an hour before all trucks were emptied, he said.

Barely functioning

Jadallah Shafai, the head of the nursing department at Shifa Hospital, told the Al Jazeera network that around 50 people were killed and 250 wounded. Al Jazeera ran footage showing several bodies and injured people arriving at Shifa.

Hussam Abu Safiya, the director of the Kamal Adwan Hospital, said the facility had received at least 10 bodies and 160 wounded people, according to the Associated Press.

The hospitals are barely functioning, however, after Israeli attacks since the start of the conflict, which initially focused on the north. Israel says Hamas fighters and military equipment were hidden inside and underneath the facilities, forcing it to send in its troops.

 

Northern Gaza, where the events occurred, is in a particularly dire state, with hungry people searching for animal feed to turn into flour. Aid enters Gaza from the south and Israel has been insisting that those seeking help should travel in that direction.

Nonetheless, several hundred thousand Palestinians have stayed in the north and Israel has started to allow trucks to travel there. But the delivery of the aid has been fraught with looting.

“We mourn the loss of innocent life and recognize the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza, where innocent Palestinians are just trying to feed their families,” White House National Security Council spokesman Eduardo Maia Silva said. “This underscores the importance of expanding and sustaining the flow of humanitarian assistance into Gaza, including through a potential temporary cease-fire as part of a hostage deal.”

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(—With assistance from Jordan Fabian and Iain Marlow.)

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