IDF says troops fired at ‘suspects’ in deadly food aid incident but denies targeting convoy

CNNIsrael’s military has said its investigation into the deadly humanitarian aid incident in Gaza last month found Israeli troops did not fire at the aid convoy, but at “a number of suspects” who approached and posed a threat to nearby forces, a conclusion swiftly rejected by Palestinian authorities.

More than 100 people were killed in the incident in northern Gaza, which has become known as the “Flour Massacre,” as Israeli troops opened fire near civilians gathering around food aid trucks, triggering panic.

A local journalist in Gaza, Khader Al Za’anoun, who was at the scene and witnessed the incident, said at the time that the chaos and confusion only began once Israeli troops opened fire, and that many of the victims were run over by trucks in the ensuing panic.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza said at least 118 people were killed and more than 700 injured, making it one of the deadliest incidents since the war in Gaza began. CNN cannot independently confirm the figures.

“The command review found that IDF troops did not fire at the humanitarian convoy but did fire at a number of suspects who approached the nearby forces and posed a threat to them,” the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said in a summary of the report released Friday.


The IDF said that thousands of Palestinians swarmed the aid trucks, which were traveling toward distribution centers, looting the trucks’ equipment. They added that “incidents of significant harm” occurred to civilians from a stampede and being run over by trucks.

The IDF said during the crowding, dozens of Palestinians “advanced towards nearby IDF troops, up to several meters from them, and thereby posed a real threat to the forces at that point.”

“At this stage, the forces fired cautionary fire in order to distance the suspects. As the suspects continued to advance toward them, the troops fired precisely toward a number of the suspects to remove the threat,” the IDF’s summary said.

The United Nations said earlier that most of the civilians wounded in the incident presented gunshot wounds. The international body could not determine the same for the deceased.

UN experts earlier this week condemned the incident as a “massacre,” and have called on Israel to relax its severe restrictions on food aid entering Gaza, where hundreds of thousands of people are facing the prospect of famine.

And Friday’s findings were quickly rejected by the Palestinian Foreign Ministry, which claimed Israel’s investigation represented “the same old formality aimed at exonerating the occupation army and obliterating the evidence.”

Israel “always lies and covers up for its soldiers in order to protect them from accountability and prosecution,” the ministry said in a statement.

The Palestinian ministry said the international community should follow through with an independent international investigation committee, adding that “the accused cannot investigate itself.”