As Hungry Gazans Crowd an Aid Convoy, a Crush of Bodies, Israeli Gunshots and Chaos

Israeli forces opened fire on Thursday as a crowd gathered near a convoy of aid trucks in Gaza City in a chaotic scene in which scores were killed and injured, according to Gazan officials and the Israeli military, which attributed most of the deaths to a stampede.

Although officials from both sides offered differing accounts, the deaths of so many people who were surrounding a convoy carrying food in a part of Gaza where starvation is rampant reflected the desperation and spiraling lawlessness in the territory following Israel’s ground invasion and threatened to derail ongoing cease-fire talks.

The Gazan health ministry said in a statement that Israeli forces had killed more than 100 people and had injured 700 others in a “massacre,” as they waited for food from the convoy.

The latest bloodshed came as Gaza’s health officials reported that the death toll from the war had risen above 30,000, a grim milestone that intensified pressure on Israel to end its military offensive.

An Israeli military spokesman, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, said that Israeli soldiers fired warning shots in the air before firing “only in face of danger when the mob moved in a manner which endangered them.”

“We did not fire on those seeking aid, despite the accusations,” he said in a televised briefing. “We did not fire on the humanitarian convoy, either from the air or the land. We secured it so it could reach northern Gaza.”

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