Israel-Gaza Conflict : U.N. Chief Calls for Investigation into Tragic Aid Convoy Incident

The head of the UN has called for an independent investigation into the deaths of more than 100 Palestinians during an aid delivery in Gaza.

At least 117 people were killed and more than760 injured on Thursday as they crowded around aid lorries.

UN Secretary General António Guterres condemned the incident and said “desperate civilians” need urgent help.

Hamas accused Israel of firing at civilians, but Israel said most died in a crush after it fired warning shots.

On Thursday international criticism of Israel mounted with French President Emmanuel Macron saying civilians had been “targeted by Israeli soldiers”.

The EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borell, described the incident as “totally unacceptable carnage”.

Reacting to the incident, Mr Guterres wrote on social media: “I condemn Thursday’s incident in Gaza in which more than 100 people were reportedly killed or injured while seeking life-saving aid.”

“The desperate civilians in Gaza need urgent help, including those in the north where the UN has not been able to deliver aid in more than a week.”

Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry called the incident a “massacre”.

The UN Security Council scheduled a closed-door emergency meeting to discuss the incident, during which Algeria – the Arab representative of the body – put forward a draft statement blaming Israeli forces for “opening fire”.

While 14 of the Council’s 15 members supported the motion, the US blocked it, according to AP news agency, citing the Palestinian UN ambassador Riyad Mansour who spoke to reporters afterwards. US envoy Robert Wood said the facts of the incident remained unclear.

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The incident on Thursday occurred shortly after 04:45 (02:45 GMT) at the Nabulsi roundabout, located on the south-western edge of Gaza City.

A group of 30 trucks transporting Egyptian assistance was travelling north through a corridor that the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) stated it was securing.

Rear Adm Daniel Hagari, the IDF’s chief spokesman, reported that civilians surrounded the convoy and individuals started climbing onto the lorries.

“Some individuals started aggressively pushing and even trampling other Gazans to death, while also looting the humanitarian supplies,” he mentioned. “The regrettable event led to numerous casualties among Gazans.”

Aerial footage shot by the Israeli military shows hundreds of Palestinians swarming around relief trucks

Israeli tanks attempted to disperse the crowd with warning shots, but retreated when the situation escalated.

Hamas dismissed the IDF’s version of events, pointing to clear evidence of deliberate targeting of civilians, including headshots intended to kill instantly.

The event occurred shortly before Gaza’s health ministry reported that over 30,000 individuals, including 21,000 children and women, had lost their lives in Gaza since the beginning of the ongoing conflict on 7 October. Approximately 7,000 individuals were reported missing and 70,450 were injured, according to the report.

Mr Gutteres expressed deep concern over the devastating impact of the conflict in Gaza, with over 30,000 people reported killed and more than 70,000 injured.

“I strongly urge for an urgent humanitarian ceasefire and the immediate release of all hostages without conditions.”

Delivering aid to a starving population without adequate security is risking disaster, according to the executive director of Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) in the UK, Natalie Roberts.During an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, she expressed concern over the limited number of aid convoys reaching the northern region in recent weeks, resulting in people being unable to access food.

According to our colleagues, they have to resort to eating animal food and sometimes go without food for days. People in the region are extremely desperate, and when food is delivered without proper security for the convoy, unfortunate events are bound to occur.

A potential crisis is on the horizon in the northern region, with approximately 300,000 individuals facing severe shortages of food and clean water, according to the UN.

Israel’s military initiated a significant air and ground operation to eliminate Hamas, labelled as a terrorist group by Israel, the UK, and other countries, following an attack by Hamas gunmen that resulted in the deaths of approximately 1,200 individuals in southern Israel on October 7th. Additionally, 253 people were taken as hostages and brought back to Gaza.

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