UN Reports Bullet Wounds in Gaza Aid Convoy Incident, Calls for Probe

Numerous individuals treated for injuries following the rush on an aid convoy in Gaza on Thursday sustained bullet wounds, as reported by the UN. UN observers visited al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, witnessing around 200 people still undergoing treatment. While Hamas accused Israel of firing at civilians, Israel attributed the incident to a “stampede” triggered by warning shots fired by its troops.

Global leaders have called for a comprehensive investigation into the unfolding events after hundreds of people swarmed the aid convoy, accompanied by the Israeli military, along a coastal road in the early hours of Thursday morning.

The World Food Programme has issued a warning of an impending famine in northern Gaza, emphasizing the area’s minimal aid intake in recent weeks. Approximately 300,000 residents are grappling with severe shortages of both food and clean water.

In footage captured at the scene, the sound of continuous gunfire is evident, with people seen scrambling over lorries and taking cover behind vehicles. Gaza’s health ministry, under the governance of Hamas, reported a grim toll, indicating at least 112 fatalities and 760 individuals injured in the incident.

In a social media statement, Rear Adm Daniel Hagari, spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), reported, “Dozens of Gazans were injured due to pushing and trampling.” Lt Col Peter Lerner of the IDF, speaking to the UK’s Channel 4 News, mentioned a “mob storming the convoy,” with Israeli troops attempting to disperse the crowd cautiously using a few warning shots.

Mark Regev, special adviser to the Israeli prime minister, had earlier informed CNN that Israel had no direct involvement and attributed the gunfire to “Palestinian armed groups,” although evidence was not provided.

Giorgios Petropoulos, head of the Gaza sub-office of the UN Co-ordinator for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), informed the BBC that his team at al-Shifa hospital found a significant number of individuals with bullet wounds. He stated that nearly all of the 70 to 80 patients in the emergency room had sustained injuries during the convoy incident.

Alongside individuals with bullet wounds, he mentioned that doctors had attended to many cases of individuals who had fallen or been trampled. However, he was unable to definitively state which group was more extensive.

Mr. Petropoulos noted that individuals with bullet injuries had sustained wounds in both the upper and lower body. During his interactions, one patient claimed to have been shot in the chest and had walked to Shifa for treatment. According to the patient, Israeli troops typically shoot into the air, but this time, they targeted the densest part of the crowd, as recounted by Mr. Petropoulos.

However, he emphasized that UN personnel were not present during the incident, making it challenging to ascertain precisely what transpired.

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