Did the IDF Airstrike People Waiting to Get Food?

Written by Jack Elbaum

What’s happening: Hamas claimed the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) bombed and opened fire on a crowd of Palestinians waiting in line for food, killing more than 100 people. The story was immediately disseminated by prominent news outlets but how accurate is that version of events?

How it started: At around 4:00 AM one morning last week, the Israeli army was accompanying a large convoy of humanitarian aid to a neighborhood in northern Gaza. After it passed an Israeli checkpoint, thousands of people swarmed the trucks. The IDF says dozens of people were either trampled to death or were run over.

  • Key details: The trucks were driven by private contractors, not the IDF. There is a lack of video evidence to corroborate IDF claims that there were deaths from widespread trampling. Eyewitnesses spoke to The New York Times and said Israeli forces opened fire into the crowd. The IDF disputes that claim.

  • Also: No airstrike was conducted toward the aid convoy and crowd, despite Hamas’s claims which were repeated by the media.

Then: The aid convoy continued and was later looted by a separate group of armed men. The IDF claims the situation escalated when more people began approaching the back of the convoy. The IDF reportedly fired warning shots and, when faced with continued approach, resorted to shooting at individuals' legs.

  • The numbers: The IDF says the use of live fire caused a maximum of ten casualties.

Consequences: Hamas temporarily halted ceasefire negotiations, the Arab world condemned the IDF, and the Western world is calling for an investigation.

Bottom line: Although there are conflicting accounts of the incident, Hamas’s version of events is not true. The chaotic scene was not a result of an airstrike, but rather due to thousands of people swarming the humanitarian aid convoy. Questions about the IDF’s use of force remain as they conduct a further investigation into the deadly chaos.