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Gaza Death Toll Passes 30,000 as IDF Massacres Crowd of Starving Civilians

"Israel deliberately targeting civilians after starving them is a gross violation of international humanitarian laws and our humanity," said Oxfam. "The risk of genocide is real."

Scenes of chaos in the aftermath -- image via screenshot of Al Jazeera footage

By Jake Johnson, Common Dreams

Israeli forces on Thursday opened fire on a crowd of desperate and starving Gazans waiting for food aid in the enclave's north, which Israel's military has cut off from humanitarian assistance almost entirely for months.

The attack reportedly killed more than 100 Palestinians and wounded over 700, further straining Gaza City hospitals that are barely functioning after Israel's monthlong bombing campaign and blockade, which has restricted the flow of fuel, medicine, and other necessities.

The massacre helped push the death toll from Israel's nearly five-month war on Gaza above 30,000, according to Gaza's health ministry.

"We are devastated by the 30,000 killed—and this is not just a number," Melanie Ward, CEO of Medical Aid for Palestinians, said in a statement. "Every single life taken was a person with dreams and hopes for the future, left loved ones behind with no time to mourn their death. One in every 23 people has been killed or injured in Gaza. Everyone has been tragically affected in so many ways, including our own dear staff; their lives will never be the same again."

One eyewitness who was wounded by Israeli fire in Gaza City on Thursday told The Associated Press that he and others went to Gaza City's al-Rashid Street after hearing there would be a food delivery. The man, identified as Kamel Abu Nahel, told the outlet that "we've been eating animal feed for two months."

"He said Israeli troops opened fire on the crowd, causing it to scatter, with some people hiding under cars," AP reported. "After the shooting stopped, they went back to the trucks, and the soldiers opened fire again. He was shot in the leg and fell over, and then a truck ran over his leg as it sped off, he said."

Medics who arrived on the scene described terrible carnage, with hundreds of people lying on the ground dead or wounded. Donkey carts were used to carry some of the wounded off to hospitals, as there weren't enough ambulances available.

A spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) told Reuters in response to reports of the Gaza City massacre that "there is no knowledge of Israeli shelling in the area." One unnamed Israeli source told the news agency that IDF soldiers shot at "several people" in the crowd who allegedly "posed a threat."

The IDF also claimed in a statement that "dozens were killed and injured from pushing, trampling, and being run over by the trucks."

B'tselem, an Israeli human rights group, said in response that "whether they were shot or trampled to death, intentionally opening fire at civilians is a severe violation of international law and constitutes a war crime. This is especially grave given a crowd of thousands begging for aid.

The humanitarian group Oxfam International said it was "appalled" by Israeli attacks on people waiting for aid, which has become almost impossible to deliver across much of the Gaza Strip amid relentless Israeli bombing and targeting of aid workers.

"Israel deliberately targeting civilians after starving them is a gross violation of international humanitarian laws and our humanity," Oxfam added. "The risk of genocide is real."

Malnutrition and infectious diseases are spreading rapidly across Gaza as Israel continues to impede aid shipments, blatantly violating the International Court of Justice's binding interim order. Save the Children said last week that families across Gaza have been forced to "forage for scraps of food left by rats and eating leaves out of desperation to survive."

"All 1.1 million children in Gaza are now facing death by starvation and disease as aid delivery is impossible to carry out safely," said the humanitarian group.

Volker Türk, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, said in a speech Thursday that "there appear to be no bounds to—no words to capture—the horrors that are unfolding before our eyes in Gaza."

"Since early October, over 100,000 people have been killed or wounded. Let me repeat that: about one in every 20 children, women, and men, are now dead or wounded," said Türk. "At least 17,000 children are orphaned or separated from their families, while many more will carry the scars of physical and emotional trauma life-long."

"This is carnage," he added.

Jake Johnson is a senior editor and staff writer for Common Dreams

This work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.



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