Israel faces condemnation after more than 100 killed while waiting for aid in Gaza

Palestinians are calling it an "ugly massacre", ITV News Correspondent John Ray reports

There has been international condemnation of Israel after more than 100 people were killed when IDF troops fired on a crowd of Palestinians waiting for aid.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry accused Israel of using “starvation as a weapon of war in Gaza.”

Israeli officials said many of the dead were trampled in a chaotic stampede for the food aid and that its troops only fired when they felt endangered by the crowd.

The Hamas-run health ministry said more than 30,000 people have been killed in the Gaza Strip since the war began on October 7. More than 70,000 Palestinian are believed to have been injured.

Military officials said the convoy of 30 trucks driving to northern Gaza on Thursday were met by huge crowds of people trying to grab the aid they were carrying.

Turkey denounced Israeli forces firing on Palestinians as “yet another crime against humanity.”

In a statement, the Turkish Foreign Ministry alleged that the latest event, which left more than 100 people dead, was evidence “of Israel’s intention to destroy the entire Palestinian population.”

“The entire world must realise that the atrocity in Gaza is about to become a global catastrophe with repercussions far beyond the region,” the ministry said. “We therefore call on all those with influence over the Israeli government to stop the ongoing violence in Gaza.”

Infrared footage released by the Israel Defence Forces shows crowds gathering around aid convoy in northern Gaza

A Palestinian health official said another 280 people were wounded during the strike on Thursday, which prompted a furious response from the Palestinian ambassador at the United Nations.

“Are these human shields? Are these Hamas combatants?” Ibrahim Khraishi asked his Israeli counterpart Meirav Eilon Shahar in Geneva.

Mr Khraishi spoke as the UN human rights chief was presenting a report from his office about the situation in Gaza to the Human Rights Council.

He added: “Hundreds of Palestinian citizens, civilians … who were waiting for trucks loaded with humanitarian aid, and they were bombed by the occupying power [Israel]. I would say to you: Let us put an end to the massacre.”

Ms Shahar, who spoke right before Mr Khrashi and after the UN rights chief, stressed that more than 1,200 people were “butchered” in the October 7 attacks on Israel, while others were subjected to “unspeakable acts of violence” by Hamas.

Four months into the war, and amid mounting international pressure to halt a planned attack on the southernmost city of Rafah, Gaza's health ministry has said more than 30,000 people have been killed in the Palestinian enclave.

Injured people sit inside Shifa Hospital on Thursday, February 29, 2024 in Gaza City. Credit: AP

Israel’s bombing and ground campaigns have displaced the vast majority of the population and created a dire humanitarian crisis.

Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's prime minister, has vowed to push into Rafah, which he calls a Hamas stronghold.

Talks are underway to pause fighting over the holy month of Ramadan - which is expected to begin on March 10 or 11 - to facilitate aid deliveries into Gaza and the release of Hamas held hostages.

Around 1.5 million people are now living in the city of Rafah, many in refugee camps. Credit: AP

An estimated 250 people were taken by Hamas from Israel in October, with 100 of them released last year. Israel says more than 100 hostages remain in captivity, with the others presumed dead.

Israeli war cabinet minister Benny Gantz previously warned: “The world must know, and Hamas leaders must know – if by Ramadan our hostages are not home – the fighting will continue to the Rafah area."

As well as displacing the majority of Gaza’s 2.2 million people, the war has drastically diminished supplies of water, electricity and food, and cut off access to vital life-saving care.

The hospitals in the enclave have become battlegrounds, with dozens of facilities no longer functional. The UN Humanitarian Affairs Coordination Office, OCHA, said that at least 576,000 people across Gaza are “facing catastrophic levels of deprivation and starvation” and are “one step away from famine”.

“Gaza is seeing the worst level of child malnutrition anywhere in the world,” Carl Skau, WFP Deputy Executive Director, told the UN Security Council on Tuesday.

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