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Israel forces shoot 104 people dead at aid point, health ministry says

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Israeli forces shot dead 104 people when a crowd rushed towards aid trucks on Thursday, the health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza said, in one of the worst single incidents of a nearly five-month war.

More than 750 people were also hurt in the incident, the ministry said. It came after aid agencies had intensified warnings over Gaza’s humanitarian situation, with famine threatening particularly in Gaza’s north.

Looting of aid trucks had previously occurred in northern Gaza, where residents have taken to eating animal fodder and even leaves to try to stave off hunger.

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Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said hundreds were killed and wounded from “bullets of the occupation forces that targeted a gathering of citizens” at Gaza City’s Nabulsi roundabout. He called it a “massacre”.

A witness told AFP that “thousands of people” had “just stormed the trucks”, which were near army tanks.

“The soldiers fired at the crowd as people came too close to the tanks,” the witness said, declining to be named for safety reasons.

Israeli sources confirmed that troops opened fire at Palestinians rushing toward aid trucks in Gaza, with one saying soldiers thought they “posed a threat” to troops.

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A spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office, however, said many of the dead were crushed by the trucks themselves, after “aid trucks were overwhelmed by people trying to loot”.

The Gaza City shooting adds to a Palestinian death toll from the war which the health ministry earlier Thursday said had topped 30,000.

It came after mediators said a truce deal between Israel and Hamas militants could be just days away.

In a reflection of increased concern at the White House, President Joe Biden’s administration is considering air-dropping aid into Gaza, US news site Axios reported early Thursday.

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