Photo Credit: IDF / YouTube screengrab
IDF Spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari

“Our initial review has confirmed that no strike was carried out by the IDF towards the aid convoy,” IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said on Sunday of the Feb. 29 incident.

Last Thursday, Gazan civilians mobbed and looted trucks carrying humanitarian aid supplies, as seen by aerial footage released by the IDF.


“The majority of Palestinians were killed or injured as a result of the stampede,” Hagari said.

According to the Israel Defense Forces, residents surrounded the trucks on Al-Rashid Street, southwest of Gaza City, and looted the supplies, with many Gazans being struck by the trucks or crushed by the crowd.

The incident began at around 4 a.m. when some 30 trucks passed an IDF checkpoint to deliver food in Gaza City’s Rimal neighborhood. Thousands of Gazans rushed the trucks after they passed the checkpoint, resulting in a deadly stampede.

Gaza’s Hamas-run Health Ministry reported that 104 people died and 280 were injured during the riot, with some reports giving a greater number of injured. The terrorist group is reportedly threatening to halt hostage negotiations over the incident, which it is calling a “massacre.”

However, the IDF said only a handful were shot by Israeli soldiers as some in the crowd who rushed the last truck in the convoy then began moving towards Israeli forces tasked with coordinating the entry of aid into the Strip, in a way that endangered the troops.

This prompted an officer stationed at the checkpoint to fire warning shots in the air, after which troops fired at the legs of those who continued to move towards Israeli forces.

“From the information we gathered from the commanders and forces on the ground, our initial review has indicated that following the warning shots fired to disperse the stampede and after our forces had started retreating, several looters approached our forces and posed an immediate threat to them,” Hagari said.

“According to the initial review, the soldiers responded towards several individuals,” he said.

Hagari emphasized that Israel is a professional military body committed to international law and examines its operations. As the inquiry develops, the army will draw conclusions to reduce the likelihood of such a tragedy reoccurring.

Israel’s war is not against the people of Gaza, but against Hamas, he said. “This is why we are facilitating aid, creating humanitarian corridors, establishing unilateral humanitarian pauses and exercising caution in our use of force.”

He added that Israel helped coordinate Saturday’s airdrop by the U.S. and the Royal Jordanian Air Force of humanitarian aid into Gaza.

“We have coordinated a total of 21 air drops in northern Gaza, in collaboration with France, the UAE, Jordan, Egypt and the United States,” Hagari said.

On Feb. 24, Israel decided it would start transferring humanitarian supplies directly to the northern Gaza Strip, to bypass the Hamas terrorist group.

Hamas has been stealing up to 60% of the aid entering the Gaza Strip.

In early February, it was reported that despite Israeli efforts, Hamas was making significant efforts to renew its control of the northern Gaza Strip, and it was using its control of aid supplies to reassert that control.


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