Israel-Hamas War: 30,000 Palestinians Killed, Gaza Health Ministry Says

Rafah, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israeli troops opened fire Thursday on Palestinians waiting for aid in Gaza City, witnesses said. More than 100 people were killed, bringing the death toll to its highest since it began Israel-Hamas war More than 30,000, according to health officials.

Hospital officials initially announced an Israeli strike on the crowd, but witnesses later said Israeli troops opened fire as people pulled flour and canned goods from trucks.

Israeli officials have acknowledged that troops opened fire, saying they did so after being approached in a threatening manner by the crowd. Officials insisted on anonymity to provide details of what happened, after the military said in a statement that the “killed and injured were pushed, trampled and hit by trucks.”

Gaza City and the surrounding areas to the north of the enclave were Israel's first targets Air, sea and land attackResponse initiated Hamas' October 7 attack. The region has suffered widespread destruction and has been largely isolated during the conflict. Food trucks reached northern Gaza This week marks the first major aid delivery to the region in a month, officials said Wednesday.

Difficulty coordinating with the Israeli military, ongoing hostilities and a breakdown in public order have made it nearly impossible to deliver humanitarian aid in much of Gaza, aid groups say. A quarter of Gaza's 2.3 million Palestinians, according to the UN Face starving; About 80% have fled their homes.

Kamel Abu Nahel, who is being treated for a gunshot wound at Shifa Hospital, said he and others went to the distribution center after hearing that the food distribution would take place at midnight. “We have been eating fodder for two months,” he said.

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He said Israeli troops opened fire on the crowd, which dispersed and some took cover under cars. After the firing stopped, the people went back to the trucks and the soldiers opened fire again. He was shot in the leg and fell down, then a speeding truck ran over his leg, he said.

Another witness, Alaa Abu Tayya, said Israeli troops opened fire and a tank fired a shell.

According to Fares Afana, head of the ambulance service at Kamal Adwan Hospital, medics who arrived at the scene on Thursday found “dozens or hundreds” of people lying on the ground. He said there were not enough ambulances to take all the dead and injured and some were brought to hospitals on donkey carts.

One man – who gave only his first name, Ahmed, while being treated for gunshot wounds to the arm and leg – lay on the ground for two hours before being accommodated in a horse-drawn carriage. Take him to Shifa.

At least 104 people were killed and about 760 injured, according to Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qitra. The Ministry of Health described it as a “massacre”.

Separately, the health ministry said the number of Palestinians killed in the war had risen to 30,035, with 70,457 injured. Its statistics do not distinguish between civilians and combatants, but say two-thirds of those killed were women and children.

The ministry, which is part of the Hamas-run government in Gaza, Maintains detailed records of casualties. Its figures from previous wars largely match those of the UN, independent experts and Israel's own figures.

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A Hamas attack in southern Israel that sparked the war killed 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and militants took about 250 hostages. Hamas and other militants are still in the grip About 100 hostages The remains of another 30, after the release of other prisoners during the November ceasefire.

Growing alarm over starvation across Gaza has fueled international calls for another ceasefire, with the United States, Egypt and Qatar scrambling to preserve it. A cease-fire agreement between Israel and Hamas and the release of some of the hostages.

Mediators hope to reach an agreement before the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan on March 10. But so far, Israel and Hamas remain the same. Far too public for their demands.

Meanwhile, UN officials have warned of further mass casualties if Israel follows through on its pledge to attack. A town south of RafahMore than half of Gaza's population of 2.3 million have sought refuge. They also say the Rafah attack could wipe out the remaining aid operation.

Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians are believed to remain in northern Gaza despite Israel's order to evacuate the area in October, with many forced to eat animal fodder to survive. 1 in 6 children under the age of 2 in the North suffer from severe malnutrition and wasting, according to the UN.

COGAT, the Israeli military body responsible for Palestinian civil affairs, said about 50 aid trucks entered the northern Gaza Strip this week. It is not known who provided the assistance. Some countries have meanwhile resorted to airdrops in recent days.

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The World Food Program said earlier this month that Suspends supplies to the North Because of the growing chaos, frustrated Palestinians evacuated a convoy as it passed.

Since launching its offensive on Gaza following the October 7 offensive by Hamas, Israel has banned the entry of food, water, medicine and other goods from Egypt to the south at the Rafah crossing and Israel's Kerem Shalom crossing. Despite international calls to allow more aid, the number of supply trucks is far below the 500 daily arrivals before the war.

COGAT said on Wednesday that Israel does not impose limits on the amount of aid entering. Israel and the UN said hundreds of trucks were waiting for aid workers on the Palestinian side of Kerem Shalom.

On Wednesday, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said large trucks entering Gaza were supposed to be unloaded and loaded into smaller vehicles, but there were not enough of them and Gaza lacked security to distribute aid.

Hamas-run police in Gaza stopped protecting convoys after Israeli attacks.

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Sehayeb reported from Beirut. Associated Press writer Melanie Litman contributed from Tel Aviv, Israel.

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