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Palestinians claim 'massacre' at aid distribution point but IDF probe shows stampede caused over 100 deaths

Army says crowds swarm aid trucks to loot supplies west of Gaza City, with Palestinian gunmen opening fire during violent clashes, most casualties crushed to death; Hamas threatens to halt hostage deal talks

Palestinians swarm humanitarian aid trucks in northern Gaza, triggering a deadly stampede that resulted in dozens of fatalities
(Video: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)

Dozens of Gazans died during a stampede as large crowds descended on humanitarian aid trucks entering northern Gaza, attempting to loot supplies and sparking violent clashes, the IDF reported on Thursday.
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Drone footage released by the IDF shows hundreds of civilians rushing toward a convoy of aid trucks passing through the coastal Al Rashid Road west of Gaza City in the early morning hours, attempting to snatch supplies.
2 View gallery
פלסטינים פצועים בעזה
פלסטינים פצועים בעזה
Injured Palestinians in Gaza
(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.
Hamas-controlled health authorities in Gaza said Israeli fire on people waiting for aid near Gaza City had killed more than 100 and wounded 280, with one hospital saying it had received 10 bodies and dozens of injured patients.
The Palestinians in Gaza claim that Israeli troops attacked the Gazans who were waiting for the humanitarian aid in Gaza City and are already calling it the "Al Rashid Massacre."
Gaza's Ministry of Health, which is controlled by Hamas, has teported 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. The details of the investigation indicate that the incident occurred early in the morning, during a humanitarian operation to bring aid into the northern Gaza Strip, a task that is considered more complex than distributing aid in the southern Gaza Strip.
2 View gallery
עזתים מתנפלים על משאיות הסיוע בצפון הרצועה
עזתים מתנפלים על משאיות הסיוע בצפון הרצועה
Archival: Palestinians storming humanitarian aid trucks in northern Gaza
Gaza Health Ministry spokesperson Ashraf al-Qidra said the incident took place at al-Nabulsi roundabout west of Gaza City in the northern part of the enclave.
Medical teams were unable to cope with the volume and severity of injuries from dozens of wounded people who arrived at al-Shifa hospital, Qidra said.
The head of Kamal Adwan hospital in Gaza City, Hussam Abu Safieyah, said it had received 10 dead bodies and dozens of wounded patients from the incident west of the city.
"We don't know how many there are in other hospitals," Safieyah told Reuters by phone.
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.
The war in Gaza began when Hamas sent fighters into Israel on Oct. 7, killing around 1,200 people and seizing 253 hostages, according to Israeli tallies.
Videos posted on social media showed trucks carrying many dead bodies. Reuters verified the location of one video to al-Nabulsi roundabout that showed several men who were motionless, as well as several wounded people.
Referring to the incident, an Israeli military spokesperson said: "There is no knowledge of Israeli shelling in the area."
First published: 13:48, 02.29.24
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