Biden Says U.S. Will Airdrop Aid Into Gaza: Israel-Hamas War Live Updates

They went out within the 1000’s, tenting in a single day alongside the coastal highway within the chilly Gaza evening — making small fires to maintain heat — huddled collectively ready for provides to come back so they may feed their households.

What they encountered was loss of life and damage, as Israeli forces opened fireplace towards hungry, determined Palestinians who surged ahead when help vehicles lastly arrived within the predawn darkish on Thursday, in keeping with three eyewitnesses and a physician who handled the wounded.

“I saw things I never ever thought I would see,” mentioned Mohammed Al-Sholi, who had camped out in a single day for an opportunity at getting meals for his household. “I saw people falling to the ground after being shot and others simply took the food items that were with them and continued running for their lives.”

More than 100 Palestinians had been killed Thursday morning, Gazan well being officers mentioned, when Israeli forces opened fireplace as big crowds of individuals thronged across the help vehicles.

An Israeli army spokesman, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, acknowledged that Israeli troops had opened fireplace “when a mob moved in a manner which endangered them” with out giving particulars. But he denied the troopers had fired at individuals who had been making an attempt to get meals. “We did not fire on those seeking aid, despite the accusations,” he mentioned. Most of the deaths had been attributable to trampling in a stampede, Admiral Hagari mentioned, and a few folks had been hit by help vehicles.

The truck convoy was lengthy and it was tough to find out what occurred within the darkness at completely different places. But Mr. Al-Sholi and two different witnesses mentioned in phone interviews that they noticed Israeli forces firing instantly at folks as they tried to achieve the convoy. Mr. Al-Sholi mentioned he additionally noticed some folks run over by vehicles within the chaos. A physician at a close-by hospital described seeing scores of individuals with gunshot wounds.

Enormous teams of individuals have camped out for help or raced to convoys in latest weeks, hoping for some deliverance from the extreme starvation that has gripped northern Gaza by almost 5 months of an Israeli offensive that has included intense bombardment, a siege and a floor invasion.

Mr. Al-Sholi, a 34-year-old taxi driver, mentioned he was compelled to hitch the 1000’s of individuals gathered close to the Nabulsi roundabout in Gaza City as a result of he and his household, together with three younger youngsters, are surviving off little however the spices, minced wheat and wild greens that they’ll discover.

On Wednesday, he had heard that individuals had obtained baggage of flour from help vehicles, and there have been rumors that one other convoy was coming. So on Thursday, round 7 p.m., he went to the Nabulsi roundabout with associates to attend.

He mentioned he had by no means seen so many individuals gathered in a single place. Others described tens of 1000’s of individuals ready.

“Right before the trucks arrived, a tank started to move toward us, it was around 3:30 a.m. and fired few shots in the air,” Mr. Al-Sholi mentioned in a telephone interview. “That tank fired at least one shell. It was dark and I ran back toward a destroyed building and took shelter there.”

When the help vehicles arrived quickly after, folks ran towards them in desperation, and the gunfire began, the witnesses mentioned.

“As usual, when the aid trucks arrived, people ran toward them to get food and drink and whatever else they could get,” mentioned Mohammad Hamoudeh, a photographer in Gaza City. But when folks reached the vehicles, he mentioned, “the tanks started firing directly at the people.”

He added, “I saw them firing direct machine gun fire.”

Mr. Hamoudeh mentioned that, regardless of the worry and panic on the scene, many nonetheless rushed to the provides. “People were terrified but not everyone, there were those who risked death just so they could get food,” he mentioned. “They just want to live.”

The witnesses mentioned that the tanks fired shells towards folks even after they started to run away. They mentioned tanks arrived between 3 and 4 a.m. and began firing commonly towards the Gazans, stopping at round 7 a.m.

The Israeli army didn’t reply to questions on whether or not Israeli tanks opened fireplace earlier than or after the help vehicles arrived. Admiral Hagari mentioned the vehicles had neared Gaza City round 4:45 a.m.

Partial drone video footage launched by the Israeli army, together with social media movies of the scene analyzed by The New York Times, don’t totally clarify the sequence of occasions. Videos present panic, together with folks ducking for canopy and taking meals from vehicles.

Mr. Al-Sholi described chaos as he ran from the help vehicles and other people round him had been hit.

“I saw people falling to the ground,” Mr. Al-Sholi mentioned. “The man next to me was shot in the arm with a bullet and lost his finger immediately.”

As he fled, he mentioned, he noticed about 30 folks on the bottom, both killed or wounded. One of these killed was his cousin, who was shot whereas operating with a bag of flour, he mentioned. About 150 meters away from one of many tanks, he recalled seeing a boy, about 12 years outdated, mendacity on the bottom together with his face lined with blood. Some folks had been additionally run over by the help vehicles, he mentioned.

A 3rd witness, a journalist who spoke on the situation of anonymity for worry of retaliation from the Israeli army, mentioned the Israeli fireplace was so intense it was tough to get to the wounded.

The tanks stopped firing round 7 a.m., however they didn’t pull again. People began dragging or carrying the lifeless and wounded, saying the Muslim declaration of religion as they did so fearing the tanks would begin firing once more, mentioned Mr. Hamoudeh.

About a mile away ambulances had gathered, unable to get any nearer, for worry of being fired on by Israeli forces. Some folks carried or introduced the wounded to them on donkey carts, or took them to hospitals on their very own.

Palestinians being handled at Kamal Edwan Hospital within the northern Gaza Strip, on Thursday.Credit…Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Around 150 wounded folks and 12 of these killed arrived on the Kamal Adwan Hospital, mentioned Dr. Eid Sabbah, the pinnacle of nursing there. He mentioned about 95 p.c of the accidents had been gunshot wounds within the chest and stomach.

Many of the wounded had been in important situation and required surgical procedure. But the hospital, just like the few others nonetheless functioning in Gaza, suffered from a scarcity of electrical energy, gas, medical tools and drugs.

Medical employees had been solely capable of carry out 20 operations, with painkillers however with out anesthesia, of their three geared up working rooms, Dr. Sabbah mentioned. Like meals provides, medical help has turn into scarce during the last 4 months, leaving the few hospitals nonetheless working struggling to deal with sufferers past first help.

Dr. Sabbah warned that most of the wounded from Thursday’s capturing couldn’t be correctly handled of their hospital.

“In the I.C.U. there are patients who need specializations and medicines and need complicated surgeries,” he mentioned. “Their only hope is to be transferred outside of Gaza to be treated.”

Nader Ibrahim contributed reporting.

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