UN: Palestinians were shot while waiting for aid

While Israel continues to say that most of the Palestinians died as a result of the stampede after the "warning" shots, the United Nations has come out with a finding that denies these claims.

The United Nations has found that a significant number of Palestinians who were treated for injuries sustained after Thursday's attack while waiting for aid in Gaza had gunshot wounds. The finding was made after UN observers visited the "Al-Shifa" hospital in Gaza City and saw about 200 people who are still receiving medical treatment.

Giorgios Petropoulos, head of the Gaza office of the UN Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), told the BBC that he and a team sent to Al-Shifa hospital found a large number of people with bullet wounds. He said all but 70 to 80 patients in the emergency room were injured during the convoy incident. Besides those with bullet wounds, he said medics had treated many who had fallen or been trampled, but he was unable to say for sure which group was larger.

Petropoulos added that those with bullet wounds were affected in the upper and lower body. A patient told him that he had been shot in the chest and that he had gone to "Al-Shifa" to receive treatment. "He said that they (Israeli troops) usually shoot in the air. This time, they shot at the densest part of the crowd," said Petropoulos. However, Petropoulos explained that UN personnel were not present during the incident, making it very difficult to know exactly what happened.

Dr. Mohamed Salha, interim head of Al-Awda Hospital, previously told the BBC that out of 176 of the injured, 142 had bullet wounds.

In connection with the case, in which more than 110 Palestinians were killed, Hamas has accused Israel of opening fire on civilians, but this accusation has been rejected by the Israeli authorities, who have claimed that after their troops fired warning shots, a stampede occurred. .

In a statement on social networks, Daniel Hagari, spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), said that "dozens of Gazans were injured as a result of the push and the violation."

IDF Lt. Col. Peter Lerner also told the UK's Channel 4 News that a "mob attacked the convoy" and that Israeli troops "carefully tried to disperse the crowd with several shots in the air."

Mark Regev, a special adviser to the Israeli prime minister, had earlier told CNN that Israel was not directly involved in any way and that the shooting had come from "Palestinian armed groups", although he did not provide evidence.

Leaders around the world have called for a full investigation into the incident, the BBC reports.

The talks are expected to continue

The case happened after hundreds of people had gathered around aid trucks to get food, in the early hours of Thursday morning. Gaza's Health Ministry, run by Hamas, said at least 112 people were killed in the incident and that 760 others were injured. As Israeli attacks on Gaza continued on Saturday, leaving 17 dead, Egypt announced that ceasefire talks between Hamas and Israel would resume on Sunday in Cairo.

And American officials said on Friday that there are no indications that the discussions have been influenced by the latest event in Gaza. According to them, President Joe Biden still hopes that the ceasefire will be reached before Ramadan, although there is only one week left until then.

"We are trying to reach an agreement between Israel and Hamas for the return of the hostages and an immediate cease-fire in Gaza for at least the next six weeks, and to enable increased aid to the Gaza Strip," President Biden said during a meeting with the Prime Minister of Italy, Georgia Meloni in Washington.

Those involved in the talks have said a deal is likely to be implemented in multiple phases, and once an initial agreement is reached, it could lead to a ceasefire lasting up to six weeks with a group of Israeli hostages released in exchange for a fewer Palestinian prisoners than Hamas had originally requested.

The total number of dead as a result of the war between Hamas and Israel has reached over 30 since the fighting began on October 7.

The US begins air aid

Two days after the killing of hundreds of Palestinians who were waiting for aid in Gaza, the United States of America has started distributing aid from the air. Aid agencies have criticized this decision of the American president, Joe Biden, saying that the distribution has started without a safe plan. According to them, instead, the US should cut off the supply of weapons to Israel and influence the push for a cease-fire in Gaza.

On Saturday, 66 large aid packages were dropped from the planes, 22 from each of the planes that flew over Gaza. The packages reportedly contained food but no water and medical equipment.

The packages contained 30 pieces. Previously, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates have sent humanitarian aid by air. The US is doing this for the first time. President Joe Biden announced the decision on Friday. When he announced the measure, Biden said that this is help "that does not meet the needs at all".

Aid agencies have slammed US plans to dump food aid into Gaza, where the UN warns hundreds of thousands of people are on the brink of starvation, as ineffective.

Richard Gowan, the UN director of the International Crisis Group, has said that this method of distribution is not appropriate.

"Humanitarian workers always complain that air flights look nice in pictures, but it's a bad way to deliver aid. It is indisputable that the situation in Gaza is now so bad that any additional supplies will at least alleviate some of the suffering. But this is at best a temporary relief measure," said Gowan.

Scott Paul of "Oxfam" wrote in "X" that the aid points "serve mainly to ease the guilty conscience of senior US officials, whose policies are contributing to the ongoing atrocities and the risk of starvation in Gaza".

"While the Palestinians in Gaza have been pushed to the absolute brink, throwing a small token amount of aid into Gaza, with no plan for its safe distribution, would not help and would be deeply degrading to the Palestinians," Paul said.

According to him, the US should stop the flow of weapons to Israel and push for an immediate ceasefire.

"Instead of indiscriminate airstrikes on Gaza, the US should cut off the flow of weapons to Israel that are used in indiscriminate attacks, push for an immediate ceasefire and release of hostages, and insist that Israel uphold its duty to provide humanitarian aid, access and other basic services", added Paul.

The United Nations has repeatedly warned about the increase in hunger in Gaza, until Saturday, the death of the tenth child was recorded as a result of hunger. The UN has warned that the real number could be higher.

"Official data say that the tenth child who died of hunger was registered in the hospital. A very serious data, but the unofficial numbers can unfortunately be expected to be higher", said Christian Lindmeier, spokesperson of the UN health agency.

Last week the UN, citing security concerns, said it was unable to send aid to northern Gaza. According to the UN, 500 aid trucks are needed every day. Meanwhile, the daily average was 90.

Prepared by: Flutura Gashi-Mehmeti