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What we know about the killing of over 100 Palestinians near aid trucks

<span>People mourn at Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City, over the body of a Palestinian killed in an early morning incident when Israeli forces opened fire on crowds rushing at an aid distribution point, on 29 February 2024.</span><span>Photograph: AFP via Getty Images</span>
People mourn at Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City, over the body of a Palestinian killed in an early morning incident when Israeli forces opened fire on crowds rushing at an aid distribution point, on 29 February 2024.Photograph: AFP via Getty Images

What is the death toll?

At least 112 people were killed, according to the Palestinian health authorities, with 280 injured.

Where did it happen?

At the Nabulsi roundabout, along the coastal road on the south-west edge of Gaza City, where an aid convoy was moving towards the city centre. The site is in northern Gaza, where food deliveries have been rare. The first deliveries in more than a month arrived this week, with NGO aid escorted by Israeli forces.

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What do we know about the circumstances?

The Associated Press and AFP quoted witnesses saying that Israeli troops opened fire on a crowd of hungry Palestinians pulling boxes of flour and canned food off aid trucks, scattering the crowd. When the shooting stopped, one witness said, the Palestinians returned to the trucks and the soldiers opened fire again, wounding him in his leg, which was subsequently run over by a vehicle. According to the local hospital management, most of the injuries were bullet wounds. However, a Palestinian witness told the BBC that most of the people killed had been run over by trucks. A hospital worker said there were not enough ambulances for the casualties, and some were brought to hospital on donkey carts.

What do the Palestinians authorities say happened?

The Palestinians say that Israeli forces carried out a massacre, opening fire on a crowd of people who had gathered in the hope that food would be distributed.

What do the Israeli authorities say happened?

The Israeli version of events changed over the course of the day. The first account given by the Israeli military was that the victims had died in a stampede in which people had been “killed and injured from pushing, trampling and being run over by the trucks”. Later, Israeli military officials briefed the Guardian and other news outlets to say that their forces had only opened fire on a crowd that threatened them after the aid convoy had moved on, and that most of the casualties were caused earlier by the stampede or people being knocked down. Israeli officials also questioned the death toll from Palestinian authorities.

What does the UN say?

A spokesperson for António Guterres said the secretary general was “appalled by the tragic human toll of the conflict” in Gaza and called for an investigation of the incident on Thursday. “We don’t know exactly what happened but whether people were shot and died as a result of Israeli gunfire, whether they were crushed by a crowd, whether they were run over by truck. These are all acts of violence, in a sense, due to this conflict,” said the spokesperson, Stéphane Dujarric.

The UN security council met in closed session on Thursday afternoon to discuss the killings.

What have been the consequences and international reaction?

Hamas has suggested that the killing could lead them to suspended talks on a release of their hostages. Joe Biden admitted that any hostage deal would probably not happen by Monday as he had earlier predicted. He said there were two competing versions of what happened and he did not yet have an accurate account. The state department has said it is pressing Israel for information. Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan accused Israel of targeting civilians.

French president Emmanuel Macron called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. Macron added in a post on X “Deep indignation at the images coming from Gaza where civilians have been targeted by Israeli soldiers. I express my strongest condemnation of these shootings and call for truth, justice, and respect for international law.”