Israel Palestine Conflict

Israeli official: Gaza aid-distribution deaths caused by drivers plowing into crowd

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An Israeli government spokesperson described Palestinian casualties during aid distribution near Gaza City on Thursday as a tragedy and said initial indications were that deaths were caused by delivery drivers plowing into a surging crowd.

“At some point the trucks were overwhelmed and the people driving the trucks, which were Gazan civilian drivers, plowed into the crowds of people, ultimately killing, my understanding is, tens of people,” spokesperson Avi Hyman told reporters.

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“It’s obviously a tragedy but we’re not sure of the specifics quite yet.”

Palestinian health officials said Israeli forces in Gaza opened fire on a crowd of Palestinians at an aid distribution point Thursday, killing at least 104 people and wounding over 700.

Gaza is facing an increasingly desperate humanitarian situation nearly five months into the war started by Hamas’s unprecedented attack on southern Israel on October 7.

The Hamas attack resulted in the deaths of around 1,160 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally of official Israeli figures.

Israel’s relentless military campaign to eliminate Hamas has killed more than 30,000 people, mostly women and children, according to the health ministry.

The UN estimates that the vast majority of Gaza’s 2.4 million people are threatened with famine, particularly in the north where destruction, fighting and looting make aid delivery almost impossible.

According to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, just over 2,300 aid trucks have entered the Gaza Strip in February, down by around 50 percent compared to January.

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