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March 30, 2024 10:03 pm | Updated 10:03 pm IST – Gaza City, Palestinian Territories

Palestinian children fetch water in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on March 30, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the militant group Hamas.

Palestinian children fetch water in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on March 30, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the militant group Hamas.
| Photo Credit: AFP

The Palestine Red Crescent said five people were killed and dozens wounded by gunfire and a stampede during an aid delivery Saturday in northern Gaza, where famine looms.

AFP video footage shows a convoy of trucks moving past burning debris near the distribution point in pre-dawn darkness as people shout and gunfire echoes – some of which was warning shots, witnesses said.

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The Red Crescent said it happened after thousands of people gathered for the arrival of around 15 trucks of flour and other food, which was supposed to be handed out at Gaza City’s Kuwait roundabout, in the territory’s north.

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 – a charge Israel denied.

The Red Crescent said three of the five killed early Saturday had been shot.

Eyewitnesses told AFP that Gazans overseeing the aid delivery shot in the air, but Israeli troops in the area also opened fire and some moving trucks hit people trying to get the food.

The Israeli military told AFP it “has no record of the incident described.”

A UN-backed report warned on March 19 that half of Gazans are experiencing “catastrophic” hunger, with famine projected to hit the north of the territory unless there is urgent intervention.

The report estimated that 1.1 million people – half the population, according to UN data – were facing catastrophic conditions.

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

Israel’s defence ministry body responsible for Palestinian civil affairs (COGAT) alleged the UN-backed assessment contained inaccuracies and questionable sources.

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