UN says many bullet wounds among Gaza convoy injuredon March 2, 2024 at 10:29 am

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Some 760 people were reportedly injured and more than 100 died after a rush on an aid convoy in Gaza.

Palestinians wounded in a rush on an aid convoy rest on beds at Al-Shifa hospital in GazaImage source, Reuters

Many of the people treated for injuries following a rush on an aid convoy in Gaza on Thursday suffered gunshot wounds, the UN has said.

UN observers visited Gaza City’s al-Shifa Hospital and saw some of the roughly 200 people still being treated.

Hamas, which governs Gaza, has accused Israel of firing at civilians, but Israel said most died in a stampede after its troops fired warning shots.

Leaders around the world have called for a full investigation.

The incident unfolded after hundreds of people descended on an aid convoy as it moved along a coastal road, accompanied by the Israeli military, in the early hours of Thursday morning.

The World Food Programme has warned that a famine is imminent in northern Gaza, which has received very little aid in recent weeks, and where an estimated 300,000 people are living with little food or clean water.

In footage from the scene, volleys of gunfire can be heard and people are seen scrambling over lorries and ducking behind the vehicles.

Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry has said that at least 112 people were killed in the incident and that another 760 were injured.

In a statement on social media, Danial Hagari, spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), said, “Dozens of Gazans were injured as a result of pushing and trampling.”

Lt Col Peter Lerner also told Channel 4 News that a “mob stormed the convoy” and that Israeli troops “cautiously [tried] to disperse the mob with a few warning shots”.

Mark Regev, special adviser to the Israeli prime minister, had earlier told CNN that Israel had not been involved directly in any way and that the gunfire had come from “Palestinian armed groups”, though he did not provide evidence.

On Friday, Stephane Dujarric, a spokesman for UN chief António Guterres, said a UN team had visited al-Shifa Hospital earlier the same day and seen “a large number of gunshot wounds” among the survivors.

He said he was not aware of the team having examined the bodies of any of the people who were killed.

Dr Mohamed Salha, interim hospital manager at al-Awda hospital, previously told the BBC that al-Awda had received 176 of the injured, of whom 142 had bullet wounds.

He added that the others had suffered broken limbs in the stampede.

Responding to the incident, UK Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron called the deaths “horrific” and said there “must be an urgent investigation and accountability”.

“This must not happen again,” he said.

He added that the incident could not be separated from the “inadequate aid supplies” entering Gaza and called the current levels “simply unacceptable”.

US President Joe Biden announced that the US would begin dropping aid into Gaza by air, saying: “Innocent people got caught in a terrible war, unable to feed their families. We need to do more, and the United States will do more.”

Israel military launched a large-scale air and ground campaign to destroy Hamas – which is proscribed as a terrorist organisation by Israel, the UK and others – after its gunmen killed about 1,200 people in southern Israel on 7 October and took 253 back to Gaza as hostages.

Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry says more than 30,000 people, including 21,000 children and women, have been killed in Gaza since then with some 7,000 missing and at least 70,450 injured.

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