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Gaza: calls for investigation after deadly aid distribution

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Gaza: calls for investigation after deadly aid distribution

The international community has stressed the urgency of a humanitarian ceasefire and called for an investigation after Israeli shooting on Palestinian civilians during an aid distribution Thursday in Gaza. More than 110 people died, according to Hamas.

American President Joe Biden announced that the United States would participate ‘in the coming days’ in humanitarian aid drops on the Gaza Strip, besieged by Israel since the start of the war against Hamas almost five years ago. month.

According to the UN, 2.2 million people, the vast majority of the population, are threatened with famine in Gaza, particularly in the north where destruction, fighting and looting make the delivery of food almost impossible. ‘help.

Famine ‘almost inevitable’

The cargoes, subject to the green light from Israel which has imposed a blockade on the Gaza Strip since the Islamist movement took power there in 2007, only arrive in very limited quantities, mainly from Egypt via Rafah.

A famine ‘is almost inevitable, if nothing changes’, the spokesperson for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Jens Laerke, once again warned on Friday. ‘We will insist that Israel facilitate the entry of more trucks and increase access routes to Gaza (…). There really isn’t enough aid arriving in Gaza,’ declared Joe Biden.

Several countries have already dropped aid shipments, including Jordan with the support of several countries including France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, as well as Egypt which took off several planes on Thursday in cooperation with the United Arab Emirates.

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War and shortages have notably brought the health system to its knees. The Hamas health ministry said Friday that four children had died of ‘malnutrition and dehydration’ at Kamal Adwan hospital in the northern Gaza Strip.

‘Efficacy survey’

On Thursday, witnesses said Israeli soldiers fired on a hungry crowd rushing toward humanitarian aid trucks in the northern Gaza City. The death toll is 115 dead and around 760 injured, according to the Hamas Ministry of Health.

An Israeli army official confirmed ‘limited shooting’ by soldiers who felt ‘threatened’ and spoke of ‘a stampede during which dozens of residents were killed and injured, some run over by aid trucks’.

Israel’s main ally, Washington demanded ‘answers’ from Benjamin Netanyahu’s government after the tragedy and pleaded for ‘an agreement on a temporary ceasefire’. The European Union called for an investigation and a humanitarian ceasefire while UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for ‘an effective independent investigation’.

In reference to this same event, Switzerland indicated that it was ‘deeply concerned by the very high number of civilian victims’. “Such scenes are unacceptable, clarification is essential,” the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs said on Friday.

A UN team visiting injured people at al-Chifa hospital in Gaza City on Friday found ‘a large number of gunshot wounds,’ Guterres’ spokesperson said , Stéphane Dujarric. He added that 200 injured people were still in this hospital out of more than 700 who had been transported there.

Uncertain truce

Hamas’ military wing said Friday that seven hostages had died in recent weeks in Israeli bombings. This information could not be confirmed from an independent source.

Thursday’s tragedy is a blow to the efforts of mediating countries, which had hoped for a truce during Ramadan, which begins on the evening of March 10 or 11. Qatar, the United States and Egypt have been trying for weeks to extract from the two camps a compromise that would make possible a truce associated with new releases of hostages, but no concrete progress has been announced until now .

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Hamas is demanding in particular a definitive ceasefire before any agreement on the release of the hostages, as well as the lifting of the Israeli blockade and the entry of increased humanitarian aid.

Israel, for its part, repeats that a truce should be accompanied by the release of all hostages and would not mean the end of the war, promising that it will continue until the total elimination of Hamas.

/ATS

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