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Biden fears for ceasefire talks after Israel accused of firing on Gazans waiting for aid

Biden fears for ceasefire talks after Israel accused of firing on Gazans waiting for aid

Joe Biden has warned ceasefire efforts in Gaza could be thrown into jeopardy after Israeli troops were accused of firing on people waiting for food.

Mr Biden said the reports would complicate ceasefire talks, telling reporters as he left the White House on Thursday: “I know it will.”

Israeli troops fired on a large crowd of Palestinians near a food convoy in Gaza, killing more than 100, according to witnesses.

Israeli officials acknowledged firing on the crowd but said troops did so after the crowd approached in a threatening way and said many of the victims had been run over by aid trucks.

Men carry the body of a Palestinian killed during the incident in Gaza City (AFP via Getty Images)
Men carry the body of a Palestinian killed during the incident in Gaza City (AFP via Getty Images)

According to the White House, Mr Biden discussed the deadly incident with Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and Qatar’s Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani in separate calls.

The leaders "grieved the loss of civilian lives and agreed that this incident underscored the urgency of bringing negotiations to a close as soon as possible and expanding the flow of humanitarian assistance into Gaza," the White House said in a readout of the calls.

At least 112 people were killed and more than 280 wounded in the incident near Gaza City, Palestinian health officials said.

Trucks carrying food reached northern Gaza this week, the first major aid delivery to the area in a month.

Aid groups say it has become nearly impossible to deliver humanitarian assistance in most of Gaza because of the difficulty of coordinating with the Israeli military, ongoing hostilities and crowds of desperate people overwhelming aid convoys.

The UN says a quarter of Gaza's 2.3 million Palestinians face starvation, and around 80% have fled their homes.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan accused Israel of targeting civilians in the incident.

Medics arriving at the scene on Thursday found "dozens or hundreds" lying on the ground, according to Fares Afana, the head of the ambulance service at Kamal Adwan Hospital.

He said there were not enough ambulances to collect all the dead and wounded and some were being taken to hospital in donkey carts.

Separately, the Health Ministry said the Palestinian death toll from the war has climbed to 30,035, with another 70,457 wounded.

The Hamas attack in southern Israel that ignited the war killed 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and the militants seized around 250 hostages.

Hamas and other militants are still holding around 100 hostages and the remains of about 30 more, after releasing most of the other captives during a November ceasefire.