Six killed and dozens wounded while queuing for aid in Gaza

Dozens taken to Al Shifa hospital hours before ship carrying 200 tonnes of food aid is due to arrive off coast

Palestinians transport bags of flour as humanitarian aid arrives in Gaza City on March 6. AFP
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Israeli forces killed six Palestinians and wounded at least 83 others waiting for aid in Gaza city on Wednesday night, according to official Palestinian media.

Soldiers opened fire on civilians at the Kuwait Roundabout, the official Wafa news agency reported, and dozens of people were taken to Al Shifa Hospital following the attack.

The site has been the target of several Israeli attacks on Palestinians awaiting humanitarian aid as food and water shortages continue.

The attack came hours before the expected arrival of an aid ship carrying 200 tonnes of food, including flour, rice and protein. Its departure from Larnaca had been delayed due to “technical issues”.

The ship is the first to use a maritime corridor spearheaded by the UAE, UK and EU, among others.

Countries including the US, Egypt, Jordan and the UAE have also been dropping aid via planes into Gaza.

Jordan and the US dropped the equivalent of 13,900 meals onto northern Gaza on Thursday, a statement from US Centcom said.

At least 27 Palestinians, including children, have died of malnutrition and dehydration in recent weeks at Gaza's hospitals, according to the enclave's health ministry.

Officials have acknowledged that the number of starvation-related deaths is probably much higher outside healthcare facilities, most of which have been forced to close by Israeli air strikes and raids.

Elsewhere in Gaza, at least one person was killed in an air strike on Jabalia refugee camp on Wednesday, while two others were killed in a strike on a vehicle in the southern city of Rafah on Wednesday night.

On Thursday, eight people were killed in an Israeli air strike that hid an aid dsitribution centre in Al Nuseirat camp in central Gaza, said Palestinian health officials.

It came a day after the UN agency for Palestinian refugees said that one of its employees was killed and 22 other people were injured when a food distribution centre in the eastern part of Rafah was hit.

“Today's attack on one of the very few remaining UNRWA distribution centers in the Gaza Strip comes as food supplies are running out, hunger is widespread and, in some areas, turning into famine,'' UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini said in a statement.

In a separate attack, nine people were killed when an Israeli missile struck a house in Deir Al Balah on Thursday, Palestinian medics said.

At least 31,272 Palestinians have been killed by Israel since the war began in October, according to the latest figures from the health ministry.

Fears the death toll will keep rising remain high as Israel reiterates its intention to invade Rafah – the last refuge for more than a million people – despite widespread warnings from the UN and global leaders, who have said an offensive on the city would amount to a humanitarian disaster.

Speaking on Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel will “finish the job” in Rafah, after an army spokesman said civilians currently in the city would be directed to “humanitarian islands” in central Gaza.

The army did not specify when or how this would happen.

Updated: March 14, 2024, 2:54 PM