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Arab world calls stampede at aid truck 'deadly massacre' and U.S. is 'concerned'

Palestinian Authority and other Arab nations quick to accuse Israel of killing innocent Palestinians despite IDF probe showing the more than 100 Gazans were killed as they rushed to grab aid; US calls stampede 'serious incident'

Footage of the stampede in Gaza
(Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)

The Arab world rushed to blame Israel for "committing a heinous and brutal massacre" on Thursday after dozens of Gazans died during a stampede as large crowds descended on humanitarian aid trucks entering northern Gaza. This comes despite aerial documentation published by the IDF which clearly shows how the crowd attacked the trucks that arrived at the scene.
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The U.S. said officials were examining reports of the IDF opening fire on Gazans waiting for humanitarian aid and said it was a serious incident. "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,” the White House National Security Council said in a statement.
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תיעוד מהכנסת הסיוע ההומניטרי לרצועת עזה
תיעוד מהכנסת הסיוע ההומניטרי לרצועת עזה
Gazans heading for aid trucks in Gaza
(Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
“This underscores the importance of expanding and sustaining the flow of humanitarian assistance into Gaza, including through a potential temporary cease-fire,” the statement added.
The first to condemn the incident were Egypt and Jordan, who have signed peace agreements with Israel. Cairo issued a sharp condemnation of the incident and called it "an inhumane Israeli attack on Palestinian civilians waiting for the arrival of humanitarian aid trucks."
According to Egypt: "This is a violation of international law and a disregard for human life. Egypt calls on international actors to halt the fighting, take humanitarian, moral and legal responsibility, and stop the Israeli war against Gaza."
The Jordanian Foreign Ministry addressed the assailants who, according to the IDF’s investigation, opened fire at the aid and called them "Palestinians waiting to receive aid."
"We condemn the cruel Israeli attack on Palestinians who were waiting to receive humanitarian aid from south of Gaza City," the ministry said in a statement.
The Saudi Foreign Ministry said that Saudi Arabia condemns "the harm to civilians in the northern Gaza Strip, which led to dozens of dead and hundreds of injured." According to Riyadh, the international community "must take a firm stand and force Israel to respect international law, open humanitarian crossings, allow the evacuation of the wounded, and unlimited aid, in order to alleviate the humanitarian crisis and prevent it from getting worse."
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א-סיסי, ביידן, אבו מאזן והמלך עבדאללה
א-סיסי, ביידן, אבו מאזן והמלך עבדאללה
King Abdullah II, Mahmoud Abbas, Joe Biden, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi
(Photo: AFP)
An initial IDF probe into the incident found that Palestinian gunmen fired at the aid trucks, with most fatalities resulting from trampling and crowding. Additionally, a portion of the crowd reportedly approached an IDF unit overseeing the trucks' entry, leading to soldiers firing warning shots into the air.
The military’s investigation didn’t satisfy Palestinian Authority officials, after PA President Mahmoud Abbas called on Hamas to expedite talks for a hostage release deal with Israel in order to allow a cease-fire in Gaza as soon as possible.
In light of Hamas' threats to halt the talks following the so-called "massacre," Abbas' office said: "The Palestinian presidency condemns the heinous massacre carried out by the Israeli occupation army against civilians awaiting the arrival of aid trucks, which led to their deaths and the injuries of hundreds."
According to the statement, "the large number of innocent civilian casualties is an inseparable part of the genocide committed by the occupation’s government against us, and it bears full responsibility before international courts."
The statement added that “this crime adds to a series of massacres committed by the occupation against our people since the beginning of the war, which left thousands dead and wounded, most of them children and women,” and stressed that international neglect of the issue “encourage the occupation to continue shedding Palestinian blood with unprecedented genocidal crimes in modern history."
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עזתים מתנפלים על משאיות הסיוע ברצועה
עזתים מתנפלים על משאיות הסיוע ברצועה
Gazans swarming on aid trucks in Gaza
(Photo: REUTERS/Kosay Al Nemer)
Abbas' office called on the U.S. to intervene and criticized the international community. "There’s an urgent need for international intervention in order to stop this war, especially by the American government which provides support and protection to the occupation," the statement read.
Abbas’ office threw further accusations against Israel according to which, "these massacres clearly indicate that their true purpose is to slaughter the Palestinian people."
These claims come after Gaza's Health Ministry, which is controlled by Hamas, reported that the number of victims has reached 104 dead, and about 700 wounded. According to eyewitnesses who spoke to CNN, the truck drivers tried to flee the area and accidentally ran over Palestinians who were there. The IDF's initial investigation also indicates that most of the victims died as a result of being crushed or trampled.
Hamas warned in a statement that the incident could lead to the failure of talks aimed at a deal on a truce and hostage release.
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