On February 29, dozens of Palestinians were reportedly killed as thousands overran humanitarian aid trucks entering Gaza City in the northern Gaza Strip. In a separate incident nearby, there were up to 10 Palestinian casualties when a group of Gazans approached Israeli soldiers, who were securing the aid deliveries at the border crossing between Gaza and Israel. 

Here’s what to know about the situation in the northern Gaza Strip, Hamas’ lies, and Israel’s humanitarian aid efforts. 

How did the Gaza stampede for aid unfold?

At 4:40 a.m., a convoy of some 38 trucks carrying humanitarian aid arrived along the coast of Gaza City to deliver aid to Palestinians in northern Gaza. 

According to the Israel Defense Forces, as the Gazan civilian truck drivers carrying humanitarian aid entered northern Gaza, residents overran the trucks and looted the supplies being delivered. As a result of the pushing, trampling, and being run over by the trucks as the drivers attempted to escape, tragically, dozens of Gazans were killed and injured. The IDF was not involved.

"At some point, the trucks were overwhelmed and the people driving the trucks, which were Gazan civilian drivers, plowed into the crowds of people, ultimately killing, as my understanding is, tens of people. I don't have anything more specific to that. It is unfolding," Israeli government spokesman Avi Hyman said. 

Aerial surveillance of the humanitarian operation that was released by the IDF shows how thousands of people swarmed the trucks, causing the stampede, trampling, and deaths.

“The Israel Defense Forces operates according to the rules of engagement and international law. No IDF strike was conducted toward the aid convoy,” said IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari.

How were Israeli soldiers involved? 

In a separate incident at a different location on the Gaza border, IDF soldiers secured a humanitarian convoy to prevent Hamas from stealing aid. When a group of Gazans moved toward the soldiers, warning shots were fired. When this didn’t deter them, the IDF fired at those posing a threat.

"The truckloads went into the north, then there was the stampede, and then afterwards, there was the event against our forces. That’s how things transpired this morning,” Israeli spokesperson Hyman said during a briefing to reporters. 

According to an initial probe by the Israel Defense Forces, feeling threatened, the soldiers fired warning shots in the air and shot at the legs of those getting closer to the forces. The probe found that Israeli gunfire caused fewer than 10 casualties out of the hundreds that were allegedly hurt and killed on Thursday. 

The IDF has coordinated several aid deliveries to northern Gaza in recent days without incident. It has launched a full investigation to prevent future incidents like this. 

On March 3, IDF spokesman Hagari followed up on the Feb. 29 incident, stating that the "initial review has confirmed that no strike was carried out by the IDF towards the aid convoy."

“The majority of Palestinians were killed or injured as a result of the stampede,” Hagari said.

Unlike its terror group adversaries, who purposely target civilian populations, Israel adheres to the laws of war in its military operations in Gaza, following principles such as necessity, distinction, proportionality, and taking precautions to protect civilians. Israel makes efforts to target combatants and military objectives while minimizing harm to civilians, provides advance warnings before certain operations, and coordinates humanitarian assistance for Gaza's civilian population.

What is Hamas lying about? 

The Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza was quick to blame Israel for opening fire at Palestinians gathering around the aid trucks and the Palestinian deaths. 

The Hamas-run agency has claimed over 100 were killed and hundreds more wounded. However, the numbers from the Gaza Health Ministry do not differentiate between civilians and terrorists. 

The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which is controlled by the Fatah-run Palestinian Authority, called the incident a “massacre.” 

It is also important to note that Hamas has been quick to blame Israel for the tragic deaths of innocent Palestinians previously, with media outlets also buying into these lies. 

In October, Hamas officials spread a vicious lie and claimed that hundreds of Palestinians were killed by an Israeli strike on Gaza’s Al-Ahli Arab Hospital. However, evidence emerged that it was, in fact, an errant rocket fired by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group that led to the casualties at the hospital. 

What do we know about humanitarian aid in Gaza? 

On October 18, Israel agreed to allow humanitarian aid to enter Gaza from Egypt, to mitigate a major humanitarian crisis in Gaza and save innocent Palestinian lives.

Since October 21, Israel has facilitated the entry of humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip. In mid-December, Israel reopened the Kerem Shalom crossing between Israel and the southern Gaza Strip to allow more aid into the territory.

To help alleviate the humanitarian situation in northern Gaza, Israel, for the first time, opened the Karni crossing to facilitate more aid delivery into Gaza. These aid convoys began delivery in northern Gaza recently for the first time since the war began. A convoy of 30 trucks carrying food made its way to the northern Gaza Strip on February 28. Close to 90 trucks were transferred to the northern Gaza Strip since the beginning of the week. 

Since the beginning of the war, 267,970 tons of humanitarian aid have been delivered by 14,545 trucks.

Israel does not impose limits on the amount of aid entering Gaza. All aid entering Gaza undergoes Israeli security screening at either Nitzana or Kerem Shalom Crossings. From there, aid is sent to the Gaza Strip. 

Gaza City and the rest of northern Gaza were the first targets of Israel’s ground operation against Hamas following the October 7 Hamas terror attacks in Israel that killed over 1,200 people and saw 253 taken hostage. The northern half of the Gaza Strip had seen over 1 million residents evacuate south and has largely been isolated since the war began. While Israel has completed major military operations in northern Gaza, thousands of terrorists purportedly are still present in the area as IDF forces continue to carry out targeted operations there.