Five killed in north Gaza amid gunfire and crush during aid delivery

Kuwait roundabout has been the scene of several deadly aid distribution incidents

Displaced Palestinian children queue for food in Deir Al Balah, central Gaza. Bloomberg
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At least five people died and dozens were wounded by gunfire and a crowd rush during an aid delivery in Gaza on Saturday, the Palestine Red Crescent said.

Witnesses said Palestinian officials overseeing the aid delivery shot in the air, Israeli troops in the area also opened fire and some lorries ran over people who were trying to get the food.

The Red Crescent said three of the victims had bullet wounds.

Thousands seeking aid had gathered at Gaza city's Kuwait roundabout, in the north of the Strip, awaiting the arrival of about 15 lorries carrying flour and other goods.

The roundabout has been the scene of several chaotic and deadly aid distribution incidents, including one on March 23 in which the Hamas-run government said 21 people were killed by Israeli fire. Israel denied that charge.

Meanwhile, a second aid ship was set to sail for Gaza from Cyprus's Larnaca port on Saturday afternoon, with 500 tonnes of humanitarian aid on board, Cypriot government spokesman Yiannis Antoniou said.

In Lebanon, where Israel has been fighting Hamas ally Hezbollah for nearly six months in hostilities linked to the Gaza War, an Israeli drone attacked a military vehicle of the UN peacekeeping force.

The attack, which took place near the town of Rmeish in southern Lebanon, wounded three officers and a civilian translator, one of them critically, Unifil said.

The UN said it was investigating the origin of the explosion.

A Unifil helicopter arrived at the site and took the wounded to hospital, Lebanon's National News Agency reported.

The agency said that a four-wheel-drive vehicle belonging to the UN truce observers near point B37 on the Blue Line, on the border with Israel, was attacked in an Israeli strike.

The vehicle was on a co-ordinated patrol near the town of Rmeish.

The Israeli army denied striking the vehicle.

"Contrary to the reports, the IDF did not strike a Unifil vehicle in the area of Rmeish this morning," it said.

Lebanese interim Prime Minister Najib Mikati condemned the 'targeting' of UN forces in South Lebanon.

Israel's shelling of Lebanon has killed nearly 270 Hezbollah fighters, about 50 civilians - including children, medics and journalists - and members of Unifil and the Lebanese army.

Famine imminent

In Gaza, the UN has reported that the entire Strip's population is facing severe levels of food insecurity.

Aid deliveries have been impeded by Israeli military restrictions, continuing violence and the breakdown of public order.

The situation is particularly dire in the north of Gaza, where the UN says there are about 300,000 people, and where the report said famine was "imminent" and is projected to occur anytime between mid-March and May.

The top UN court on Thursday ordered Israel to take measures including opening more land crossings to allow food, water, fuel and other supplies into Gaza to tackle crippling shortages in the war-ravaged enclave.

In its legally binding order, the International Court of Justice told Israel to take “all necessary and effective measures to ensure, without delay, in full co-operation with the UN.

It also ordered Israel to immediately ensure “that its military does not commit acts which constitute a violation of any of the rights of the Palestinians in Gaza as a protected group under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, including by preventing, through any action, the delivery of urgently needed humanitarian assistance.”

Updated: March 30, 2024, 12:12 PM