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Israeli forces shelled hundreds of Palestinians awaiting humanitarian aid. (Photo: via QNN)

By Abdallah Aljamal – Gaza

The Palestine Chronicle spoke with three survivors of what has been called the ‘flour massacre’, which resulted in the killing and wounding of nearly 1,000 Palestinians waiting for humanitarian aid.

“We were surprised by the occupation’s gunfire and the killing of dozens while we were waiting for food aid”.

This is what Jihad Rajab, a survivor of the ‘flour massacre’, told The Palestine Chronicle. 

At least 112 Palestinians were killed and more than 750 wounded on Thursday, February 29, after Israeli troops opened fire on hundreds of Palestinians waiting for food aid at the Nabulsi Roundabout, in the Sheikh Ajleen district, southwest of Gaza City.

‘As We Waited for the Trucks’ 

Rajab, along with his cousin, went to the roundabout to wait for humanitarian trucks, with the hope that they could finally obtain some flour. 

“For over two months, my family hasn’t tasted bread,” Rajab told us, “this is why we decided to go.”

“The trucks were supposed to arrive on Wednesday. However, we waited for the whole day and nothing came. We all decided to sleep there and wait for the trucks,” he continued. 

“We were sitting on the beach and it was extremely cold. But hunger was stronger than anything else and thousands of people gathered there to get some food. There is nothing to eat in Gaza City and we are living in difficult conditions”,

“As soon as the trucks entered the area, Israeli forces started firing heavily, resulting in the killing and wounding of scores of people,” Rajab said. 

“The occupation did not spare us, and they deliberately fired at us as we were awaiting the aid convoy,” he added.

‘The Occupation Killed Us Twice’

“Despite my old age, I was standing in line after a very cold night, like all residents of Gaza City,” Hajj Mahmoud Daghmash told The Palestine Chronicle. 

“We had been waiting for hours when we finally spotted the trucks. At that very moment, the Israeli occupation opened fire at us with gunfire and artillery shelling,” Daghmash continued.

“Fear filled all our hearts, and people started running everywhere. We didn’t know where to hide. The screams of the wounded, women, and children were heard everywhere.”

“The occupation killed us twice,” Daghmas explained: “Once when it shelled our homes, and then again by starving us.” 

“I can endure hunger, but my children and family cannot, and it is extremely painful not being able to provide for my children and family. All the people in that line were only hoping to return to their families with a bag of flour. Instead, over 100 people returned as martyrs, and more than 800 returned as wounded.”

Daghmas explained that after over one month the occupation had allowed trucks to enter and classified the Sheikh Ajleen area as the only corridor for aid.

“This is a new war crime committed by the occupation against innocent civilians in the Gaza Strip,” he concluded.

‘Children Crying from Hunger’

Yahya Salamia was also among the Palestinians waiting for humanitarian trucks in Gaza City. He was particularly outraged when he realized how Israel tried to distort the facts and claim that Palestinians posed a threat to the military vehicles.

“We were all civilians, unarmed. We only wanted to return to our families with a bag of flour and some food,” he told us.

“Ben Gvir bragged about the massacre and thanked the soldiers. This is the biggest evidence that the occupation continues to commit genocide against the people of Gaza,” Salamia continued.

“The occupation tries to deny the charge of genocide in the International Court of Justice, but every day it commits dozens of crimes and works with all its might to exterminate the people of Gaza and displace them from their lands.”

Salamia also said that the cameras documented part of the massacre and that footage confirmed that Israel deliberately killed civilians as they attempted to obtain flour from the trucks. 

“Yes, I returned to my family safely, and I escaped death, but I failed to provide food for them,” he said. 

“My heart aches for all those who were martyred and injured in the massacre, and I am deeply saddened because I couldn’t provide food for my family.”

Salamia called on the world to intervene to stop Israeli crimes, and bring food to the people of Gaza, especially in the north. 

“We are dying of hunger every moment, and death from hunger is more painful than death from bombing. The crying of children from hunger does not stop, and we have nothing to feed them. Save our children, and stop the occupation’s crimes against us.”

(The Palestine Chronicle)

Abdallah Aljamal is a Gaza-based journalist. He is a correspondent for The Palestine Chronicle in the Gaza Strip.

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