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Death toll of Palestinians killed by Israeli army while awaiting aid surges to 112

Anadolu Agency MIDDLE EAST
Published March 01,2024

The death toll of Palestinians killed by the Israeli army while waiting for humanitarian aid early on Thursday rose to 112 and is likely to climb further, the enclave's Health Ministry told Anadolu.

Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said many of the injured were in critical condition as they were shot in the upper body.

Also speaking to Anadolu, head of the Gaza-based Government Media Office Ismail Thawabteh called the deadly incident "the flour massacre."

"The martyrs of the flour massacre died as a result of being directly shot by the Israeli bullets," Thawabteh said.

He added that the Israeli army had prior knowledge that the Palestinians would be arriving in the area to recieve food aid.

Thawabteh accused Israel of fabricating allegations over the incident. "The (Israeli) occupation practices disinformation, and tries to evade responsibility from the heinous massacre it committed."

For its part, the Israeli army has claimed that the fatalities occurred as a result of trampling and being struck by the aid trucks.

It said an initial investigation found that some Palestinians approached an Israeli military checkpoint overseeing the entry of the aid trucks, with soldiers firing warning shots and shooting at the legs of Palestinians who continued to move toward the troops.

The incident occurred at dawn on Thursday as hundreds of Palestinians were waiting to receive the aid near the al-Nablusi roundabout area, south of Gaza City, when they came under Israeli fire, according to eyewitnesses.

Israel has launched a deadly military offensive on the Gaza Strip since an Oct. 7, 2023 Hamas attack, which Tel Aviv says killed nearly 1,200 people.

At least 30,035 Palestinians have since been killed and over 70,457 others injured amid mass destruction and shortages of necessities.

Israel has also imposed a crippling blockade on the Gaza Strip, leaving its population, particularly residents of northern Gaza, on the verge of starvation.

The Israeli war has pushed 85% of Gaza's population into internal displacement amid acute shortages of food, clean water, and medicine, while 60% of the enclave's infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice. An interim ruling in January ordered Tel Aviv to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.