IDF probing aid convoy incident, denies it shot at Gazans rushing trucks

“We have all the footage we need to complete an exhaustive investigation,” said IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The IDF promised Saturday a full and transparent investigation of the incident where Hamas claimed over 100 Gazans were killed rushing to aid trucks on Thursday, while firmly rejecting Arab contentions that the army was the cause of their deaths.

“We are investigating this incident, we have all the footage we need to complete an exhaustive investigation and find out the truth of the facts of this incident, and we will present the findings,” IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said in an evening press briefing.

He repeated the army’s contention made already on Thursday that the IDF “did not fire on those seeking aid, despite the accusations.”

The only people the IDF shot at, he said, were those in a separate, small group hundreds of meters away who had rushed at the troops trying to guard the convoy of 38 trucks that had entered Gaza City.

Feeling their lives were being endangered, they first shot in the air in warning, as did some tanks that had escorted the convoy to secure the “humanitarian corridor” that the IDF had set up, Hagari noted.

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When this group did not stop, the tanks backed off and the men aimed at the rioters’ legs.

Calling it a “limited response,” he acknowledged some deaths in that incident without citing numbers.

Hagari completely rejected Hamas claims that some 110 Gazans were “massacred” and hundreds more wounded while running to the trucks.

“As these vital humanitarian supplies made their way toward Gazans in need, thousands of Gazans [rushed] to the trucks, some began violently pushing and trampling other Gazans to death, looting the humanitarian supplies,” he said.

Dozens were killed or injured as a result, Hagari said, with some also being run over by the panicked drivers who were being overwhelmed.

Injured people interviewed by the foreign press in Gazan hospitals claimed that IDF troops had deliberately fired at them, with one going so far as to say “They used tanks, soldiers, aircraft… all were firing towards us.”

In the press conference, Hagari countered the contention, saying, “Our UAVs were there in the air to give our forces a clear picture from above.”

The senior spokesman also showed a video clip of the Israeli tanks.

“You can see how cautious they were when they were backing up,” he said. “They were backing up securely, risking their own lives, not shooting at the mob.”

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The UN Security Council already met Friday to discuss the incident, with Algeria submitting a declaration accusing Israel of “opening fire” on the Gazans.

The U.S., backed by Germany and France, vetoed the motion on the grounds that all the facts were not yet known.

The latter countries said that the UN should set up an “independent probe” of the tragedy.

Meanwhile, the U.S. began airdrops of humanitarian aid into Gaza on Saturday, in a joint operation with the Royal Jordanian Air Force.

Three USAF C-130s dropped over 38,000 MREs (meals ready to eat), said the air force’s Central Command, adding that “We are conducting planning for potential follow up on airborne aid delivery missions.”

Airdrops could be a partial answer to Hamas stealing whole aid trucks, as the parachuted supplies can be dropped over specific areas that have been cleared of the terrorists.