Second Gaza Aid Convoy Ends in Violence, With at Least 20 Killed

For the second time in just over two weeks, a convoy bringing aid to hunger-stricken northern Gaza ended in bloodshed late Thursday when Palestinians were killed and wounded in an attack surrounding the trucks, according to Gazan health officials and the Israeli military, which offered divergent accounts of what happened.

The Gaza Health Ministry said that at least 20 people had been killed and more than 150 injured, and it accused Israeli forces of carrying out a “targeted” attack against “a gathering of civilians waiting for humanitarian aid” near the Kuwait traffic circle in Gaza City.

The Israeli military denied the allegation in a statement on Friday, blaming Palestinian gunmen and saying that an “intensive preliminary review” had determined “that no tank fire, airstrike or gunfire was carried out toward the Gazan civilians at the aid convoy.” It did not say whether Israeli forces had opened fire at all.

The descriptions of chaos and violence, and the conflicting accounts for what caused it, resembled those that emerged after bloodshed in late February, when more than 100 people were killed or injured amid Israeli fire around a convoy in Gaza City. The Israeli military has said that most of the people died in a stampede and that some were run over by the trucks. Israel, which has been under growing pressure to allow more aid into the territory, had organized that convoy to northern Gaza, where the United Nations has warned that hundreds of thousands of people are facing starvation.

It was not clear immediately on Friday who had sent the latest supplies, driven the trucks or provided security for them. The U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, said it was not involved. The Israeli military said it had “facilitated the passage” of the 31 trucks but did not elaborate on that.

Three witnesses described shelling at the scene, and a doctor who treated victims at a hospital said their wounds appeared to be consistent with artillery shells, not bullets from rifles, suggesting the use of Israeli arms.

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