Israeli soldiers fired at a crowd of Palestinians who gathered in Gaza City to receive humanitarian aid this Thursday (29), killing more than a hundred people.

“The death toll in the Al Rashid Street massacre (where food was distributed) is 104 dead and 760 injured,” Hamas Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf Al Qudra said.

The first estimates spoke of around 50 deaths, but the figures were revised upwards. The number of injured is close to 300, according to local medical authorities.

Witnesses told Agence France Press (AFP) that they saw thousands of people running towards humanitarian aid trucks that were approaching the Nablus roundabout, west of Gaza City, the main city in the north of the territory.

Israeli sources confirmed the shooting, stating that the soldiers felt “threatened”.

The UN estimate is that more than two million people – almost the entire population of the Gaza Strip – are threatened with famine in the Palestinian territory, especially in its northern part. The little aid that can enter the region is from the south, across the border with Egypt, in Rafah. Before the crisis that began in October, around 500 trucks with humanitarian aid entered Rafah daily. In February, the average was 80.

The situation is expected to get worse, as Israel has announced plans for a broad military offensive in Rafah soon, a site that has received hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who fled other parts of Gaza after the bombing began. The UN has taken a strong stance against the idea, classifying it as illegal.

“I do not see how such an operation could be compatible with the provisional binding measures issued by the International Court of Justice” (ICJ), UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk told the UN Human Rights Council.

“The prospect of an Israeli ground attack on Rafah would take the nightmare inflicted on Gazans to a new dimension,” Turk warned.

In January, the ICJ had asked Israel to avoid initiatives that would cause “genocide” in Gaza and to facilitate the entry of humanitarian aid.

Editing: Rodrigo Durão Coelho


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