UN chief condemns Israel’s killing of Palestinians waiting for humanitarian aid

UN chief condemns Israel’s killing of Palestinians waiting for humanitarian aid

Antonio Guterres reiterates demand for immediate humanitarian cease-fire, says spokesman

By Merve Aydogan

TORONTO, Canada (AA) - The UN chief on Thursday condemned Israeli forces who opened fire on Palestinians waiting for humanitarian aid south of Gaza City, killing more than 100 victims and injuring 700 others.

"The Secretary-General condemns the incident today in northern Gaza in which more than a hundred people were reportedly killed or injured while seeking life-saving aid," Stephane Dujarric, spokesperson for Antonio Guterres, said in a briefing.

Dujarric reiterated Guterres' demand for an immediate humanitarian cease-fire and said the UN chief "once again calls for urgent steps so that critical humanitarian aid can get into and across Gaza to all those in need."

"The continued hostilities and other challenges continue to impede our efforts to reach civilians in Gaza with life-saving health and nutrition care," Dujarric added.

Refraining from mentioning Israel in the condemnation of the attack, Dujarric said the UN is aware of deaths related to dehydration and malnutrition in Gaza and urged a thorough investigation.

Early Thursday, Israeli forces shelled a crowd of Palestinians waiting for humanitarian aid south of Gaza City at the "al-Nabulsi Roundabout" area, leaving at least 104 dead and 760 injured, according to the Gaza-based Health Ministry.

The Israeli military said an initial investigation found that Palestinians approached a military checkpoint overseeing the entry of the aid trucks when soldiers fired warning shots and shot at the legs of Palestinians who continued to move toward the troops.

Dujarric commented on the ongoing investigation of UNRWA by the UN's Office of Internal Oversight Services and said it reviewed initial information from Israeli authorities and is planning to visit Israel to obtain additional details.

Israel has launched a deadly military offensive on the Gaza Strip since an Oct. 7 cross-border attack led by Hamas in which less than 1,200 people were killed.

At least 30,035 Palestinians have since been killed in Gaza, and 70,457 others injured amid mass destruction and shortages of necessities.

Israel has also imposed a crippling blockade on the coastal enclave, leaving its population, particularly residents in the north where the shootings on Thursday took place, on the verge of starvation.

The Israeli war has pushed 85% of Gaza’s population into internal displacement amid acute shortages of food, clean water and medicine, while 60% of the enclave's infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

Israel is accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice. An interim ruling in January ordered Tel Aviv to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

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