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Five killed in Gaza aid delivery chaos

The Palestine Red Crescent has said five people were killed and dozens wounded by gunfire and a stampede during an aid delivery in Gaza, where famine is looming.

AFP video footage shows a convoy of trucks moving quickly past burning debris near the distribution point in pre-dawn darkness as people shout and gunfire echoes – some of which was warning shots, witnesses said.

The Red Crescent said it happened after thousands of people gathered for the arrival of around 15 trucks of flour and other food, which was supposed to be handed out at Gaza City’s Kuwait roundabout, in the territory’s north.

The roundabout has been the scene of several chaotic and deadly aid distribution incidents, including one on 23 March in which the Hamas-run government said 21 people were killed by Israeli fire – a charge Israel denied.

The Red Crescent said three of the five killed earlier today had been shot.

Eyewitnesses told AFP that Gazans overseeing the aid delivery shot in the air, but Israeli troops in the area also opened fire and some moving trucks hit people trying to get the food.

AFP contacted the Israeli military for comment.

A UN-backed report warned on 19 March that half of Gazans are experiencing “catastrophic” hunger, with famine projected to hit the north of the territory unless there is urgent intervention.

The report estimated that 1.1 million people – half the population, according to UN data – were facing catastrophic conditions.

The situation is particularly dire in the north of Gaza, where the United Nations says there are about 300,000 people – and where the report said famine was “imminent…projected to occur anytime between mid-March and May”.

Children in Gaza City

IDF denies strike on UNIFIL vehicle in southern Lebanon

Meanwhile, Israel has denied carrying out an airstrike on a vehicle carrying United Nations observers in southern Lebanon.

“Contrary to the reports, the IDF (Israel Defence Forces) did not strike a UNIFIL vehicle in the area of Rmeish this morning,” the military said.

Earlier, two security sources told the Reuters news agency an Israeli strike hit a vehicle carrying UN technical observers outside the southern Lebanese border town of Rmeish, wounding several observers.

There was no immediate comment from UNIFIL or from the UN technical observer mission UNTSO.

One of the security sources said the car carried three UN technical observers and one Lebanese translator.

That source, and a second security source, said that the Israeli strike had left several of those in the car wounded.

Israel has been trading fire with the Lebanese armed group Hezbollah in southern Lebanon for nearly six months in parallel with the Gaza War.

Israel’s shelling of Lebanon has killed nearly 270 Hezbolla hfighters, but has also killed around 50 civilians – including children, medics and journalists – and hit both UNIFIL and the Lebanese army.

In November, UNIFIL said one of its patrols was hit by Israeli gunfire in southern Lebanon, without leaving casualties.

UNIFIL last month said that the Israeli military violated international law by firing on a group of clearly identifiable journalists, killing a Reuters journalist.

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