More than 100 reported killed in crowd near Gaza aid convoy

Connie Queline

More than 100 reported killed in crowd near Gaza aid convoy

Copyright: AFP

Following conversations with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and a Palestinian eyewitness, we have been able to establish – with some confidence – the circumstances surrounding the incident on Thursday morning in which as many as 104 Palestinians were killed.

Everyone agrees that the incident took place shortly after 04:00 local time (02:00 GMT) on the Gaza coast road. It occurred just past an Israeli military checkpoint.

Palestinian sources put the location of the incident as the Nabulsi roundabout, on the south-western edge of Gaza City.

A convoy of aid trucks (provider still not known) passed through the checkpoint, heading north. There’s some disagreement about how many trucks were involved. The IDF says 30; our eyewitness says 18. Either way, the convoy was likely a few hundred metres long.

Shortly after the convoy passed through the checkpoint, with the last truck only about 70 metres (230ft) north of the checkpoint, Palestinians started surrounding the trucks.

IDF spokesman Lt Col Peter Lerner says some civilians approached the checkpoint and ignored warning shots fired by the soldiers there.

Fearing that some of the civilians posed a threat, the soldiers then opened fire on those approaching in what Lerner described as a “limited response”.

Our Palestinian source has not confirmed that civilians approached the checkpoint, only that they were about 70 metres away.

With crowds descending on all the trucks, and with machine gun fire coming from the checkpoint, panic seems to have ensued.

The trucks (some of them now with many people clinging on) tried to move forward. Our eyewitness says that the bulk of the casualties were caused by the trucks running people over, not by the Israeli gunfire.

SOURCE

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