1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Israel-Hamas war: Dozens killed waiting for aid in Gaza

Published February 29, 2024last updated February 29, 2024

The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry said over 100 people were killed after Israeli troops opened fire as crowds of Palestinians pulled flour and canned goods from an aid convoy near Gaza City. Follow DW for more.

Palestinians transport casualties from near an empty aid truck in Gaza City
The Hamas-run Health Ministry said over 100 people were killed by Israeli forces while waiting for aid trucks — Israel's military said people were trampled when the trucks were swarmedImage: REUTERS
Skip next section What you need to know

What you need to know

  • Gaza officials accused Israel of shooting Palestinians waiting for food aid in Gaza City
  • Israel's military said it fired in response to a threatening situation near an aid convoy 
  • Hamas-run health authorities said Gaza death toll now over 30,000
  • A ground offensive in the southern Gaza city of Rafah would contravene the World Court, a UN official said
Skip next section Germany to increase Gaza aid by €20 million
February 29, 2024

Germany to increase Gaza aid by €20 million

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock on Thursday announced that Germany would pledge another €20 million ($21.6 million) in humanitarian aid to Gaza, admitting the amount "is not nearly enough" to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in the besieged enclave.

"People risk their lives fighting over food parcels dropped from the air because not enough trucks are coming into Gaza," Baerbock said in a statement. "Children collect weeds to give their siblings something to eat. Babies are dying of dehydration and malnutrition in barely functioning hospitals."

Berlin provided a total of €206.5 million to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) in the last financial year, of which €83 million had benefitted people in Gaza, according to the Foreign Ministry. UNRWA is also active in the West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria.

Germany was among the 16 countries that said they were temporarily halting payments to UNRWA following Israeli allegations that 12 of the agency's employees participated in the October 7 terror attacks on Israel.

Baerbock also said the Israeli government and military must ensure that humanitarian aid can reach people in the Gaza Strip.

Calling the dwindling numbers of aid trucks Israeli authorities allowed into the region "unacceptable," Baerbock said Germany would join Jordan in airdropping aid to Gaza residents. 

Baerbock's statement reiterated the call for a humanitarian cease-fire, which she claimed would facilitate the release of hostages kidnapped by Hamas militants during the group's October 7 terror attacks on Israel.

Skip next section UN boss 'condemns' Gaza killings, Security Council to meet
February 29, 2024

UN boss 'condemns' Gaza killings, Security Council to meet

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday "condemned" an incident in which more than 100 Palestinian civilians were killed and hundreds injured while waiting to receive what he called "life-saving aid."

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric on Thursday said, "The desperate civilians in Gaza need urgent help, including those in the besieged north where the United Nations has not been able to deliver aid in more than a week." 

Dujarric also emphasized that Guterres was "appalled by the tragic human toll of the conflict."

The Hamas-run Gaza Health Authority on Thursday announced that the death toll in the enclave now exceeds 30,000.     

The AFP news agency has reported that the UN Security Council will hold a closed-door meeting on the incident on Thursday afternoon, citing an anonymous diplomatic source who claimed the meeting had been requested by Algeria.

Skip next section Gaza killings provoke range of international reactions
February 29, 2024

Gaza killings provoke range of international reactions

A Thursday incident in the Gaza Strip that left over 100 Palestinians dead and injured hundreds more as they waited to receive food aid has provoked strong reactions from actors on all sides of the conflict, including Hamas, the UN, Israel and the United States.

Amid differing reports on precisely what occurred in the hours before dawn, the AFP news agency quoted witnesses from the scene saying Israeli forces had fired into the crowd.

Israel initially said the deaths had been caused by confusion and panic resulting in stampeding. It later also acknowledged that some Israeli soldiers had fired their weapons, though it claimed they had only shot into the air or at peoples' legs.

Hamas, which the US, EU and Israel all identify as a terror organization, and whose October 7 attack on Israel started this latest war, released a statement after the incident, threatening to withdraw from ongoing hostage release and cease-fire negotiations with Israel, citing the "expense of the blood of our people." 

In separate statements, neighboring Egypt and Jordan condemned what they called a "shameful crime" and the "brutal targeting" of civilians. Egypt, which directly borders Gaza, said, "We consider targeting peaceful civilians rushing to pick up their share of aid a shameful crime and a flagrant violation of international law."

UN aid boss Martin Griffiths on Thursday called the incident "appalling" and pointed to the total Gaza death toll, which has now surpassed 30,000, saying, "life is draining out of Gaza at terrifying speed."

In Israel, despite ongoing urgent warnings from around the world calling for increased humanitarian aid to Gaza, far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir said such deliveries should be done away with altogether.

Ben-Gvir said Thursday's incident, "shows not only that it's crazy to transfer humanitarian aid to Gaza while hostages are still being held, it also puts soldiers at risk."

In Washington, US President Joe Biden — a staunch ally of Israel who has become increasingly frustrated with the proportionality of Israel's response to Hamas' initial attack — said the incident will complicate efforts to arrive at a cease-fire deal that, earlier this week, he said could be agreed by Monday. Biden also said the US was looking into "two competing versions of what happened," adding that it is currently impossible to know what exactly transpired and why.

Hamas: More than 100 killed waiting for aid in Gaza

Skip next section Israel has killed 25,000 Palestinian women, children since October: Pentagon
February 29, 2024

Israel has killed 25,000 Palestinian women, children since October: Pentagon

Israeli forces have killed more than 25,000 Palestinian women and children since the October 7 attack by Hamas, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Thursday.

During a congressional hearing, he told lawmakers the number of women and children killed in Gaza was "over 25,000."

The Hamas-led Health Ministry has said over 30,000 people have been killed in Gaza since the start of Israel's military operation in the enclave. 

The United States has backed Israel's response to the Hamas terror attack in October that resulted in the deaths of around 1,200 people in southern Israel. Austin said about 21,000 precision, guided munitions had been provided to Israel since the start of the war almost five months ago.

A few hours later, Sabrina Singh, a Pentagon spokesperson, said Austin was citing an estimate from the Gaza Health Ministry and was referring to the total number of Palestinians killed, not just women and children.

"We cannot independently verify these Gaza casualty figures," Singh said in a statement.

Calls grow to halt arms exports to Israel

Skip next section UN aid chief: 'Life draining out of Gaza'
February 29, 2024

UN aid chief: 'Life draining out of Gaza'

Martin Griffiths, the UN's under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordination, voiced another urgent plea to stop the  conflict grinding on in the Gaza Strip.

"Life is draining out of Gaza at terrifying speed," he wrote Thursday on the social media platform X, formerly Twitter. 

Israeli forces opened fire on a crowd of Palestinians at an aid distribution point in Gaza City on Thursday, killing at least 104 people and wounding over 700, say Palestinian health officials.

"Even after close to five months of brutal hostilities," he wrote, "Gaza still has the ability to shock us."

Israel has disputed Palestinian statements regarding the incident, first saying those killed were trampled or run over by aid trucks and later that an initial investigation showed the Israeli military had opened fire, believing the crowd of people "posed a threat," but caused only 10 of the casualties. 

Skip next section Israel reviewing access to Al-Aqsa mosque during Ramadan — report
February 29, 2024

Israel reviewing access to Al-Aqsa mosque during Ramadan — report

The Israeli government is reviewing possible curbs on access to Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque during the upcoming holy month of Ramadan, according to a Reuters news report, citing a government spokesperson.

"The specific issue of prayer on the Temple Mount, in Al Aqsa, is currently still under discussion by the cabinet," Reuters quoted government spokesperson Avi Hyman as saying in a briefing on Thursday.

It follows media reports in Israel that far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir was overruled on the matter of issuing a quota for members of Israel's Muslim minority wishing to hold prayers at the sacred site.

Earlier this month, the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it would allow Ramadan prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan but would set limits according to security needs.

The mosque is part of the Haram al-Sharif complex and is the third holiest site in Islam. 

The compound in the Old City of Jerusalem is also known as the Temple Mount and is the most sacred site in the Jewish faith.

Skip next section Israel's planned Rafah offensive would contravene World Court — Volker Turk
February 29, 2024

Israel's planned Rafah offensive would contravene World Court — Volker Turk

UN human rights chief Volker Turk on Thursday said  Israel's planned ground offensive in Rafah would contravene orders issued by the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

The ICJ in January ruled that Israel must "prevent the commission of all acts within the scope" of the Genocide Convention in a case brought before it by South Africa.

"I fail to see how such an operation could be consistent with the binding provisional measures issued by the International Court of Justice," Turk told the UN Human Rights Council.

"The prospect of an Israeli ground assault on Rafah would take the nightmare being inflicted on people in Gaza into a new dimension," he said.

The human rights chief went on to say that a ground offensive in the city in the southern Gaza Strip on the border to Egypt would cause massive loss of life, increase the risk of atrocity crimes, spur more displacement and "sign a death warrant for any hope of effective humanitarian aid."

Skip next section Dozens of Palestinians killed waiting for aid in Gaza City
February 29, 2024

Dozens of Palestinians killed waiting for aid in Gaza City

Health authorities in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip on Thursday said over 100 people were killed after Israeli troops opened fire as crowds of Palestinians pulled flour and canned goods from an aid convoy near Gaza City.

In a statement on Facebook, the Health Ministry said 104 people had been killed and another 760 had been injured in the incident.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has confirmed it opened fire, adding that an initial probe showed about 10 of the injuries were caused by Israeli gunfire. Neither the total number of deaths nor casualties caused by Israeli gunfire could be independently confirmed.

The Palestinian territory's Health Ministry described it as a "massacre."

Ministry spokesperson Ashraf al-Qidra said the incident took place at al-Nabusi roundabout to the west of Gaza City.

The IDF posted what it said was aerial footage of the operation to bring humanitarian aid into northern Gaza. The IDF said the footage showed how the "Palestinian crowd attacked the trucks and as a result dozens were killed from overcrowding, crowding and trampling."

Skip next section Death toll in Gaza over 30,000, according to Gaza health officials
February 29, 2024

Death toll in Gaza over 30,000, according to Gaza health officials

More than 30,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since the Israel-Hamas war began after October 7 last year, according to officials at the Hamas-led Health Ministry in Gaza.

The United Nations and multiple humanitarian organizations consider the death toll and casualty numbers provided by Gaza's Health Ministry to be broadly reliable.

Though the ministry does not differentiate between civilian and militant deaths, around half of Gaza's 2.3 million inhabitants are children, and the UN says the majority of civilians killed have been women and children.

"The death toll in Gaza has surpassed 30,000 — a large majority women and children. Over 70,000 Palestinians have been injured. This horrific violence and suffering must end. Ceasefire," said World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in a post on X.

Fighting began when Hamas-led militants launched a large-scale terror attack in southern Israel, killing 1,200 people and taking around 250 hostages, of whom Israel says 130 remain in captivity.

Israel's leadership vowed to destroy Hamas in the days that followed and began a ground offensive that has been expanded throughout the Palestinian territory.

Hamas is a designated terrorist organization by the EU, the US and a number of other countries.

Skip next section New Zealand lists Hamas as a terrorist group
February 29, 2024

New Zealand lists Hamas as a terrorist group

New Zealand on Thursday declared that it now officially recognizes the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas as a terrorist organization. 

Speaking about the October 7 terror attack in Israel, the government said "the organization as a whole bears responsibility for these horrific terrorist attacks."

Following this decision, Hamas' assets will be frozen in New Zealand and providing the group "material support" will be banned.

"The terrorist attacks by Hamas in October 2023 were brutal and we have unequivocally condemned them," New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon said in a statement. 

Luxon clarified that designating Hamas as a terrorist group is "not a reflection on the Palestinian people in Gaza and around the world" while indicating humanitarian support would continue.

New Zealand had already classified the military wing of Hamas as a terrorist entity in 2010.

Besides listing Hamas as a terror group, New Zealand also imposed travel bans on what officials called "extremist" Israeli settlers who it said had violently attacked Palestinians in the West Bank.

Luxon also said he was "seriously concerned by the significant increase in extremist violence perpetrated by Israeli settlers" against Palestinians in recent months.

rt/jsi (Reuters, AP, AFP, dpa)