Biden says Gaza stampede complicates hostage deal, adds US investigating ‘competing’ claims by Israel, Hamas

President Biden says US ‘checking out’ details of Gaza stampede that left over 100 dead, says he is still hopeful ceasefire will be reached next week.

By World Israel News Staff

President Joe Biden said the U.S. has yet to determine what caused the deaths of over 100 Gazans during a stampede towards two aid convoys in the northern Gaza Strip early Thursday morning, adding that his administration is investigating “competing versions” of events as presented by Israel and the Hamas terror organization.

Speaking with reporters Thursday, Biden acknowledged that the mass casualty event near Gaza City Thursday morning could complicate efforts to broker a hostage deal and ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, while emphasizing that he nevertheless remains optimistic.

“Hope springs eternal. I was on the phone with the people in the region,” Biden said with regards to talks brokered by the U.S., Egypt, an Qatar. “Probably not by Monday, but I’m hopeful.”

The president alluded to Hamas claims contradicting Israel’s account of the incident, saying that the U.S. is probing the “competing versions” of events, adding that his administration does not yet know what happened.

“We’re checking that out right now. There’s two competing versions of what happened. I don’t have an answer yet.”

Read  US senator calls EU accusations of Gaza starvation ‘bulls**t blood libel’

At approximately 4:00 a.m. Thursday, thousands of Gazans mobbed an aid convoy en route to the Gaza City neighborhood of Rimal.

After the convoy passed through an IDF checkpoint in central Gaza, a stampede broke out as Gazans flocked towards the roughly 30 trucks in the convoy.

Citing aerial footage published Thursday afternoon, Israel has said that hundreds of Gazans were trampled, many of them to death, during the stampede.

At a separate incident to the north, a second convoy was forced to stop as gunmen opened fire, with hundreds of Gazans moving in to loot the trucks.

During the second incident, an IDF force stationed in the area fired several warning shots as dozens of Gazans approached the Israeli soldiers’ position. After the warnings were not heeded, the IDF said, the soldiers fired a number of shots at the legs of Gazans approaching the army position.

According to the Israeli military, roughly 10 people were wounded by IDF fire, with no fatalities linked to the shooting.

Gaza’s health ministry reported 104 dead and 760 injured in the two incidents Thursday.