Israel And Hamas Offer Competing Stories After At Least 20 Palestinians Die Waiting For Aid

According to the Hamas-run Palestinian Ministry of Health, at least 20 Palestinians were killed while waiting for humanitarian relief in Gaza City on Thursday, a terrible episode that sparked conflicting stories from Hamas and Israel on how they perished.

According to the Ministry of Health, Israeli troops killed the Palestinians Thursday night while they were waiting for relief distribution. According to the most recent information from health officials, the event harmed another 155 people.

“What happened at the Kuwaiti roundabout points to the hidden intentions of the occupation to commit a new, horrible massacre,” the Hamas-run organization wrote in a Facebook statement.

In a statement circulated on pro-Iranian Telegram groups, Hamas claimed that Israeli soldiers murdered more than 30 Palestinians and that 23 had been taken to hospitals.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) denied accusations that troops opened fire on Palestinians waiting for relief.

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“As the IDF assesses the incident with the thoroughness that it deserves, we urge the media to do the same and rely on credible information,” the Defense Ministry said in a Telegram message.

Israeli spokesperson Avichay Adraee stated that “Palestinian gunmen opened fire near Gazan citizens an hour before a humanitarian aid convoy” arrived.

“The IDF continues its investigations into what happened while intensifying its efforts to bring humanitarian aid to the residents of the Gaza Strip,” he wrote in a post on Twitter, “at a time when Hamas terrorists are harming the residents of Gaza and spreading their lies in order to place the blame on the State of Israel.”

The heartbreaking fatalities highlight the Gaza Strip’s rapidly worsening humanitarian predicament. In late February, more than 100 Palestinians were killed in a race for aid in Gaza City. That episode, too, drew conflicting versions, with Hamas and Palestinians accusing Israel of opening fire and Israeli officials blaming an unruly mob for stomping on each other.

The additional casualties add to an already high death toll in Gaza, where more than 31,000 people have reportedly been killed since the conflict began in October.

Israel has refused pleas for a cease-fire and is determined to fully destroy Hamas in revenge for the Oct. 7 onslaught on southern Israel, which killed roughly 1,200 people and kidnapped another 250 captives, approximately 100 of whom are still held in Gaza.

The United Nations is now warning of hunger in Gaza as humanitarian supplies arrive at a much slower rate than before the war.

The Biden administration is airdropping goods into Gaza and intends to build a pier off the coast to expedite the delivery of additional food and water, but the endeavor might take up to two months, according to the Pentagon.

The issue has raised worries in the United States, particularly among Democrats, who want more funding and support for Palestinians.

However, the Biden administration and most Democrats have avoided calls for a permanent cease-fire, even as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the highest-ranking Jewish elected official in US history, criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this week and called for new elections in Israel when the time comes.

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