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Updated Feb 29, 2024, 1:52pm EST
securityMiddle East

UN Security Council to meet on deadly Gaza aid distribution incident

Gaza distribution mass casualty event
REUTERS TV via REUTERS
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The News

The United Nations Security Council will meet on Thursday to discuss a deadly aid distribution incident in Gaza City.

Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry said that Israeli troops fired on a crowd attempting to get food from an aid convoy, killing 112 Palestinians and injuring some 760 others. Semafor was unable to independently verify the casualty toll.

The Israel Defense Forces confirmed to CNN that live ammunition was used because the crowd “approached the forces in a manner that posed a threat to the troops” and said the incident was now under review, adding that the deaths were a “tragedy.”

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The IDF later said that there were two separate incidents that led to massive loss of life: one in which aid trucks reportedly ran over civilians crowding the convoy during a “stampede,” and another where a group of Palestinians approached an Israeli position nearby and failed to disperse after IDF members fired warning shots, with only a handful of casualties as a result of ammunition.

That account contradicts eyewitness reports that said the IDF fired on the crowd surrounding the aid trucks.

Officials are now worried that the incident will undermine efforts for a truce. U.S. President Joe Biden said Thursday he knows ceasefire negotiations will be complicated over the deaths but he remains “hopeful.”

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The United Nations this week warned that nearly 600,000 Gazans are on the brink of famine as officials worldwide condemn Israel for reportedly complicating efforts to deliver food aid into the strip. Last week reports appeared to show a similar incident of IDF soldiers firing live rounds near a food distribution center.

Amid pervasive hunger, Northern Gaza has seen looting of aid trucks, while residents have reportedly taken to eating livestock feed and leaves as they await aid, according to Agence France-Presse.

Washington is becoming increasingly concerned about the humanitarian crisis and is now considering air dropping supplies to circumvent hurdles in getting aid into the strip, Axios reported.

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