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Massacre at food aid site in Gaza: What happened amid Israeli firing?

(CNN) — One of the worst tragedies of Israel’s war against Hamas occurred on Thursday, when dozens of Palestinians were killed while trying to get food aid to Gaza City.

The health ministry said at least 104 people were killed and another 760 wounded in an incident in which Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers opened fire on hungry and desperate Palestinian civilians gathered around food aid trucks. Palestinians in Gaza. CNN cannot independently verify these figures.

The incident unfolded against a backdrop of widespread famine and extreme poverty in the besieged region, where food aid is so scarce that it is often distributed amid scenes of panic.

However, there are conflicting narratives between Israel’s account of the tragedy and that of witnesses who were at the scene.

We know this.

What happened?

The deaths occurred amid scenes of chaos on Harun al-Rashid Street in western Gaza City, where crowds of hungry Palestinians had gathered to receive food aid.

According to witnesses, a convoy of at least 18 food trucks sent by countries in the region including Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates arrived around 4.30 am on Thursday.

Eyewitnesses said civilians gathered around aid trucks in hopes of getting food and soon Israeli forces began firing.

Witnesses told CNN that aid trucks attempted to flee the area, accidentally hitting other people and causing more deaths and injuries. Ahmed Abu Al Foul, one of the witnesses, told CNN that ambulances had difficulty reaching the injured because the road was blocked by debris.

According to Khader al Zanoun, a local Gaza journalist, most of the victims were people who were hit by aid trucks trying to escape Israeli fire.

Al Zanoun, who was at the scene and witnessed the incident, said that while large crowds were waiting for food to be distributed, the chaos and confusion that led to people being crushed by trucks only began when Israeli soldiers began attacking. done. Shooting.

“Most of those who died were hit by aid trucks during the chaos and while trying to escape Israeli fire,” al-Zanoun said.

gaza massacre shooting 2

An injured Palestinian receives medical treatment at Al-Shifa hospital after the incident. (Credit: Dawud Abo Alkas/Anadolu/Getty Images)

What does Israel say?

Israel’s account of the incident changed as the day progressed.

In its first statement, the IDF said the incident began when Palestinians tried to loot trucks. “This morning, as humanitarian aid trucks entered northern Gaza, Gaza residents surrounded the trucks and looted the supplies being delivered. “During the incident, dozens of Gazans were injured due to pushing and crushing,” he told CNN.

Hours later, an Israeli military spokesman said at a briefing that two separate incidents involving aid trucks occurred in Gaza on Thursday.

First, he said the trucks entered northern Gaza and were surrounded by crowds, causing the vehicles to run over people. Later, he said, a group of Palestinians approached Israeli forces, who then opened fire on them.

“The trucks went north, then there was a stampede and then there was an incident against our forces. “This is how things happened this morning,” the spokesperson said.

However, that timeline directly contradicts eyewitness accounts, which suggested that Israeli forces opened fire on people near the trucks, causing panicked drivers to try to drive away.

IDF spokesman Daniel Hargari said at a news conference on Thursday that there was no attack on the aid convoy. “I want to repeat that. No IDF attacks were carried out against the aid convoy. On the contrary, the IDF was conducting humanitarian operations there,” he insisted.

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