Geneva - Initial investigations by Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor confirm that Israeli army gunfire killed and wounded dozens of starving Palestinian civilians who were attempting to receive humanitarian aid in western Gaza at dawn on Thursday. The Israeli army is striving to disassociate itself from the atrocity, Euro-Med Monitor said, by releasing a shattered aerial video clip and arguing that the large number of civilian deaths was caused by a stampede and trampling.

In a brief statement, the rights organisation said that its research teams observed the event from the very first moments and recorded that Israeli tanks opened heavy fire on groups of Palestinian civilians attempting to receive humanitarian aid west and south of Gaza City. As a result, 112 civilians were killed and 760 were injured, while many victims are believed to remain in the targeted area.

Euro-Med Monitor stated that the evidence—which is supported by video footage showing the shooting operation—demonstrates that dozens of victims suffered gunshot wounds, rather than being run over or crushed, in contrast to what the Israeli army spokesman claimed.

The rights group highlighted four pieces of evidence confirming the Israeli army’s killing and wounding of starving civilians, the first of which is the signs of injuries on the bodies of the dead and injured. These injuries were documented by a Euro-Med Monitor researcher as soon as the victims arrived at Al-Shifa Hospital, as was the blood on flour bags and aid boxes.

The second piece of evidence is the footage released by the Israeli army itself, which includes audible evidence of gunfire emanating from Israeli tanks positioned near the coast, which the army purposefully covered up in the video using black; eyewitnesses have confirmed that the tanks were present close to the crime scene.

The third piece of evidence concerns the bullets’ distinct sound signature, said Euro-Med Monitor, which is audible in the footage released at the time of the shooting and identifies them as coming from an automatic weapon used by the Israeli army with 5.56 bullets.

Finally, the rights group stated that the aerial video published by the Israeli army is intentionally fragmented and distorted. At minute 1:06, however, the video footage does indicate the existence of at least two Israeli tanks, as well as multiple bodies, in the path of the tanks rather than the aid trucks.

The Geneva-based organisation noted that during minutes 1:06–1:28 in the video, the majority of those in attendance—including individuals who had initially been far from the aid trucks—can be seen fleeing from the trucks, i.e. running in the opposite direction. This indicates that the danger did not originate from the trucks themselves or from the surrounding crowd of people, but rather from an outside source that terrified everyone in the area, both close to and far away from the trucks. Furthermore, the video clip released by the Israeli army does not depict any ramming operations, which aligns with numerous survivors’ accounts of being shot in the back as they attempted to flee the scene.

Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor emphasised that under no circumstances should the veracity and credibility of footage released by Israel’s army to absolve itself of its crimes be accepted without first granting an independent external investigative body full access to the army’s data to review all of the information. If the international community immediately accepts Israel’s altered footage as fact, it will only result in an absurd scenario in which the Israeli army simultaneously acts as perpetrator, investigator, and judge.

In fact, Euro-Med Monitor added, the army’s video clip demonstrates Israel’s culpability, even if one ignores the edits and accepts the story of a “stampede”, as it reveals the extent of this Israeli-made humanitarian disaster and the crime of starvation that caused hordes of civilians to rush towards aid trucks today. As the entry and protection of these trucks are obstructed by Israeli army forces, starving Palestinians are seen risking their lives while trying to reach the trucks, which are located close to army concentration points.

Israeli forces clearly targeted starved civilians who did not pose any threat to them, contended Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor, and whose only request was to receive a small amount of aid, despite the humiliating procedures that accompany the distribution process.

Euro-Med Monitor warned that the Israeli shooting of starving Palestinian civilians receiving aid has become a regular practice. In recent weeks, Israeli forces have directly attacked and killed dozens of people in Gaza City, including on Salah al-Din Street and in the vicinity of Kuwait Roundabout.