At least nine killed as Israeli forces fire at Gazans waiting for aid

Shooting at a roundabout in Gaza city follows a similar fatal incident less than two weeks ago

Displaced Palestinians in Rafah collect food donated by a charity before iftar on the first day of Ramadan. AFP
Powered by automated translation

Live updates: Follow the latest news on Israel-Gaza

At least nine people were killed and 17 injured when Israeli forces opened fire at the Kuwaiti roundabout in Gaza city on Monday night, a medic at Al Shifa Hospital said.

Witnesses said the victims were among a crowd waiting for aid lorries to arrive.

The medic told The National the hospital had received bodies of those who had been shot and others who were crushed by overcrowding.

“Most of the injuries were in the upper parts of the body,” they said.

Witnesses said the number of casualties was higher and some bodies could not be recovered due to intense firing by Israeli forces.

The incident came less than two weeks after the deaths of more than 100 people, when Israeli forces opened fire at a crowd waiting for aid lorries at the Nabulsi roundabout near Gaza city on February 29.

Most of those killed had suffered gunshot wounds, said staff at Al Shifa and other hospitals where bodies and hundreds of injured people were taken. The Israeli military said its troops had fired only at those who approached them and claimed most of the dead had been crushed as crowds rushed the aid convoy.

UN chief on Gaza: 'Silence the guns to honour Ramadan'

UN chief on Gaza: 'Silence the guns to honour Ramadan'

Marwan Abu Khattar said he was one of the thousands gathered at the Kuwaiti roundabout on Monday “to be able to bring aid and provide food and drink to our families who couldn't find anything to break their fast on the first day of Ramadan”.

“It was very dark with no lighting and the only sounds were of people and sometimes the sound of gunfire from the army,” he told The National.

“Around midnight, the soldiers began firing at the youth and I saw with my own eyes more than one of them fall and collapse.

“People collapsed while they were far away from the soldiers and tanks and no one approached them or tried to attack them, as they claim every time.”

Issa Al Muqaid, another resident of northern Gaza, said he saw people being shot by snipers.

“I was standing there with three guys, one of whom was hit, and we transferred him to the hospital,” he said. "The shooting was direct from a sniper, using a red laser [sight].

“I have gone out multiple times to try to get flour to feed my three kids and my elderly mother because I can't buy it at these very high prices.

“Salaries have not been paid for six months and there is no aid.”

There was no immediate comment on the incident from the Israeli military.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said aid delivery on the ground in Gaza is proving particularly challenging after the World Food Programme was forced to end its operations in the north of Gaza due to the security situation.

"The aid is now often self-distributed by the population," Ms von der Leyen said in a speech at the European Parliament. "And we have all seen the dramatic images. We must ensure the safety of the distribution of aid within Gaza."

Humanitarian agencies have repeatedly warned that hunger in Gaza is reaching crisis levels because of inadequate supplies of aid, particularly in northern Gaza.

On Tuesday, the Ministry of Health said the number of people who have died from malnutrition and dehydration had risen to 27. The number was for people reported dead in hospital, not those who have died elsewhere, ministry spokesman Dr Ashraf Al Qudra said.

More than 31,100 people have been killed since the war began on October 7, and 72,889 injured, the ministry said. Thousands more remain under rubble and out of reach of ambulance and emergency crews. More than 70 per cent of the victims are civilian women and children, the ministry said.

In the occupied West Bank, Israel carried out an operation on Jenin refugee camp, injuring two people, one of whom it arrested along with two others, Palestinian news agency Wafa reported.

Updated: March 12, 2024, 2:39 PM