US urgently seeking information on what took place in northern Gaza aid incident

By Thomson Reuters Feb 29, 2024 | 1:19 PM

By Simon Lewis

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. is urgently seeking information on what took place in northern Gaza on Thursday, where health authorities said more than 100 Palestinians had been shot dead by Israeli forces as they waited for an aid delivery.

State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said the incident underscored the urgency of expanding and sustaining the flow of humanitarian assistance into Gaza, including through a potential temporary ceasefire as part of a hostage deal.

“We are urgently seeking additional information on exactly what took place. We have been in touch with the Israeli government since early this morning and understand that an investigation is underway. We will be monitoring that investigation closely and pressing for answers,” Miller said.

At least 112 people were killed and more than 280 wounded in the incident near Gaza City, Palestinian health officials said, as the death toll from nearly five months of war passed 30,000.

Israel disputed the account provided by health officials in Hamas-run Gaza, which has been bombarded by Israeli forces for months in a war that began after the Palestinian militant group’s deadly rampage in southern Israel on Oct. 7.

Washington continues to make clear to Israel that all possible measures must be taken to allow the entry of more assistance into Gaza, Miller said, adding that the U.S. pushed for the opening of a border crossing in the north as soon as possible.

“If there’s anything that the aerial footage of today’s incident makes clear, it is just how desperate the situation on the ground is. People need more food. They need more water. They need medicine and other humanitarian goods, and they need it now,” Miller told reporters at a regular news briefing.

(Reporting by Simon Lewis, Humeyra Pamuk, Daphne Psaledakis and Kanishka Singh; Editing by Daniel Wallis)