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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 17 April 2024

Strike on Palestinians waiting for aid kills 70, Gaza officials say, taking war's toll past 30,000

Gaza City and the rest of northern Gaza were the first targets of Israel's air, sea and ground offensive launched in response to Hamas' October 7 attack

AP Rafah (Gaza Strip) Published 29.02.24, 07:55 PM
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At least 70 people were killed in a strike early Thursday on a crowd of Palestinians waiting for humanitarian aid in Gaza City, bringing the total number killed since the start of the Israel-Hamas war to more than 30,000, Gaza's Health Ministry said.

Gaza City and the rest of northern Gaza were the first targets of Israel's air, sea and ground offensive launched in response to Hamas' October 7 attack. The area has suffered widespread devastation and has been largely isolated from the rest of the territory for months, with little aid entering.

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Aid groups say it has become nearly impossible to deliver humanitarian assistance in most of Gaza, in part because of the crowds of desperate people who overwhelm aid convoys. The UN says a quarter of Gaza's 2.3 million Palestinians face starvation.

Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said another 280 people were wounded in Thursday's strike.

Fares Afana, the head of the ambulance service at the Kamal Adwan Hospital, said medics arriving at the scene found “dozens or hundreds” lying on the ground. He said there were not enough ambulances to collect all the dead and wounded and that some were being brought to hospitals on donkey carts.

The Israeli military said it was looking into the reports.

The Health Ministry said the Palestinian death toll from the war has climbed to 30,035, with another 70,457 wounded. It does not differentiate between civilians and combatants in its figures but says women and children make up around two-thirds of those killed.

The ministry, which is part of the Hamas-run government, maintains detailed records of casualties. Its counts from previous wars have largely matched those of the UN, independent experts and even Israel's own tallies.

The Hamas attack into southern Israel that ignited the war killed 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and the militants seized around 250 hostages. Hamas is still holding around 130 hostages, a quarter of whom are believed to be dead, after releasing most of the others during a weeklong cease-fire in November.

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