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US blocks UNSC resolution condemning Israel over aid truck stampede disaster

President Biden: US ‘checking competing statements’ after Hamas claims 100 dead

Palestinians transport casualties following a stampede around an aid convoy in northern Gaza, in this still picture taken from a video Feb. 29, 2024. (Photo: REUTERS TV via REUTERS)

The United States on Thursday blocked a UN Security Council (UNSC) statement blaming Israel for the more than 100 alleged deaths that resulted from a stampede around an aid convoy in northern Gaza on Thursday morning.

The U.S. was the only country of the 15 council members that didn’t support the statement put forward by Algeria in an emergency closed meeting, Palestinian UN ambassador Riyad Mansour told reporters.

American Deputy Ambassador Robert Wood said that discussions about amending the language of the statement would continue, but added, “The problem is that we don’t have all the facts here.”

U.S. President Joe Biden told reporters that his administration was checking “competing versions” of the incident that led to over 100 deaths and hundreds of people injured, according to sources in the Gaza Strip.

Israel said the majority of injuries were a result of large crowds swarming around the aid truck convoy and trying to loot it, leading to a stampede that was responsible for the deaths of most of the victims.

The IDF acknowledged that soldiers shot around 10 people in a crowd who endangered the soldiers and a tank at a nearby checkpoint.

Despite Israeli statements and the release of drone footage showing large crowds around the aid convoy, the White House called the reports of the incident “tremendously alarming.”

“This latest event needs to be thoroughly investigated,” White House Spokeswoman Olivia Dalton said on Thursday.

U.S. State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said the U.S. had requested that Israel provide the results of its investigation.

“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,” he said, adding that the U.S. also called on Israel to allow “as many points of access as possible, and to enable safe and secure distribution of that aid throughout Gaza.”

In a press conference on Thursday evening, IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Daniel Hagari presented the results of the IDF’s preliminary investigation into the incident.

“No IDF strike was conducted toward the aid convoy,” Hagari said. “On the contrary, the IDF was there carrying out a humanitarian aid operation, to secure the humanitarian corridor, and allow the aid convoy to reach its distribution point, so that the humanitarian aid could reach Gazan civilians in the north who are in need.”

Israel was widely blamed for the deaths in statements from governments across the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and Turkey.

Accusations were leveled by some European governments, as well.

“The fire by Israeli soldiers against civilians trying to access food is unjustifiable,” the French Foreign Ministry stated, while Spain’s foreign minister called the deaths “unacceptable.”

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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