Injured from aid convoy violence had gunshot wounds, U.N. says

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Death toll in Gaza surges past 30,300

The death toll in Gaza has climbed past 30,300, according to the Health Ministry, with more than 71,000 people wounded.

The death toll in the strip is an estimate, as rapidly depleting health, demographic and search and rescue resources make it difficult accurately count casualties. Another 7000 are missing and presumed dead under the rubble.

Speaking during a congressional hearing yesteday, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin estimated that the death toll of women and children alone in Gaza was at “over 25,000,” as he called for a “credible plan” to protect civilians in the southern city of Rafah ahead of any Israeli ground invasion.

‘Large number’ of hospitalized aid seekers at Al Shifa had gunshot wounds, U.N spokesperson says

A “large number” of injured people seen by U.N. teams at Al Shifa hospital following Israel’s deadly attack on people gathering for food in Gaza City were injured by gunfire, the U.N.’s spokesperson for the Secretary General, Stéphane Dujarric, said in a press briefing.

Responding to questions about the number of people killed by gunfire during the attack, Dujarric said that while U.N. teams in Gaza had not yet “examined the bodies” of the dead, teams had seen scores of people injured by gunfire in hospital.

The Israeli military has denied shooting into crowds of hungry people at Nabulsi roundabout in Gaza City on Thursday. They later said that the majority of people were killed in a crush or were run over by trucks trying to escape. It maintains that it only shot at a small group of people who threatened soldiers, though they did not specify what that threat was.

Health workers at local hospitals said most of the deceased they received appeared to have been shot. 112 people were killed and over 750 were wounded in the attack, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry.

Biden announces U.S. will airdrop food aid into Gaza as famine concerns grow

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden announced Friday that the U.S. will drop food aid into the Gaza Strip, noting that the humanitarian aid flowing into the region for Palestinians is insufficient.

“Aid flowing into Gaza is nowhere nearly enough… lives are on the line,” Biden said as he announced the decision about the airdrops during an Oval Office meeting he was holding with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.

“We should be getting hundreds of trucks in, not just several,” he continued. “We’re going to pull out every stop we can.”

The president reiterated that the U.S. is trying to push for an immediate cease-fire between Hamas and Israel to allow more aid into Gaza, where he said “innocent people” have died.

Read the full story here.

Most Palestinians injured in aid convoy incident were shot or wounded by artillery fire, doctor says

A doctor at Al-Shifa Medical Complex in north Gaza said that most of the injured Palestinians brought in for treatment after Thursday’s deadly aid convoy incident were shot.

“Most of these injuries were the result of gunshots, injuries as a result of explosions of artillery shells and tank shells,” ER Dr. Mohamed Mahmoud Eghrab said. “Most of the injuries were in the upper part of the body, in the head, the chest, and in the abdominal area. The majority of the injuries were severe injuries. Roughly about 70% of the injuries needed surgeries.”

The Palestinian Health Ministry has accused Israel of opening fire on a crowd of people seeking food from aid trucks in Gaza City and killing over 100. The IDF has denied opening fire on those seeking aid and disputed the casualty numbers, saying most of those who died were killed in a stampede.

Eghrab said only two operation rooms are functioning at Al-Shifa, so medical staff are having to prioritize patients according to the seriousness of their condition.

“Unfortunately, due to the lack of medications, lack of oxygen, and lack of medical supplies, a large number of these patients lose their lives while waiting to undergo an operation,” Eghrab said.

The medical complex received a large number of dead and injured as a result of the incident on Al-Rashid Street. So far, over 70 people have been killed and 500 have been injured — and these are the casualties at Al-Shifa alone, Eghrab said.

Eghrab said while some of the victims were injured by trampling, most of them were shot.

“Perhaps a small number of them were due to trampling and pushing, but the trampling itself happened after the shooting occurred by the Israeli occupation forces,” Eghrab said.

Some Biden administration officials denounce White House response to ‘“Hunger Games” style massacre’

Some Biden administration officials, who are all political appointees, are expressing outrage over President Joe Biden’s handling of the deaths of Palestinian civilians in Gaza on Thursday as they were waiting for food aid.

A handful of them provided a statement to NBC News. The staffers have all asked to remain anonymous out of concern about retaliation for speaking out against the administration’s position on the Israel-Hamas war.

“Saying there are two ‘versions of what happened’ when we have video proof of what occurred is absolutely disgusting. … From pastors, labor unions and veterans to members of Congress, President Biden is out of touch with the reality that the majority of this country supports a permanent ceasefire,” the statement said.

“On Thursday morning we all woke up to a ‘Hunger Games’ style massacre, weaponizing starvation and over one hundred people dead and this administration’s response is that we need to clarify information? It’s baffling,” the statement continued. “President Biden has the unique power to mitigate the harms being done—not through useless backchannel conversations, but through established processes of international law and strong diplomacy.”

The Palestinian Health Ministry has accused Israel of opening fire on a crowd of people seeking aid and killing over 100. The IDF has denied opening fire on those seeking aid and disputed the casualty numbers, saying most of those who died were killed in a stampede.

The statement is the latest addition to growing calls on Biden from within his administration to demand a cease-fire and reassess his handling of Israel’s war with Hamas.

Since the war began on Oct. 7, several efforts have launched from within the government to push for the de-escalation of the conflict, including letters from hundreds of Biden’s former 2020 campaign staff, Muslim and Jewish congressional employees and more than 400 Biden administration staffers who signed an open letter in November demanding he pursue a cease-fire.

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