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The Latest | Condemnation of Israel’s actions in Gaza grows after dozens killed while seeking aid

Palestinians walk through the destruction from the Israeli offensive in Jabaliya refugee camp in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Essa)

Turkey has joined Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan in condemning Israeli forces firing on Palestinians waiting for the delivery of aid, with its foreign ministry calling the event “yet another crime against humanity.”

Israel said many of the dead were trampled in a chaotic crush for the food aid, and that its troops only fired when they felt endangered by the crowd.

The Health Ministry in Gaza says more than 100 people were killed and at least 700 wounded. That brings the Palestinian death toll to more than 30,000 in the Gaza Strip since Israel’s war on Hamas began nearly five months ago after Hamas-led militants stormed across southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing 1,200 people and taking about 250 others hostage.

Israel responded with a blistering offensive in the Gaza Strip that has created a humanitarian catastrophe and devastation in northern areas like Gaza City, which are largely cut off from the rest of the territory with little aid entering. In a statement issued late Thursday, the Turkish Foreign Ministry accused Israel of using “starvation as a weapon of war in Gaza.”

Currently:

• A Palestinian American woman who faces trial in Israeli military court is released on bail.

• Colombia pauses buying Israeli weapons and president calls war in Gaza “genocide.”

• Journalism leaders ask for more protection for those covering the war.

• Find more of AP’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war.

Here’s the latest:

THE EU AGREES CONDITIONS FOR GIVING $50 MILLION TO UN AGENCY FOR GAZA

BRUSSELS — The European Union said today that it will pay $54 million to the main U.N. provider of aid in Gaza next week after the agency agreed to allow EU-appointed experts to audit the way it screens staff to identify extremists.

The UNRWA agency is reeling from allegations that 12 of its 13,000 Gaza staff members participated in the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks in southern Israel. The agency fired the employees, but more than a dozen countries suspended funding worth about $450 million, almost half the budget for 2024.

The EU’s executive branch, the European Commission, had been due to disburse $89 million to UNRWA on Feb. 29 but wanted the agency to accept its terms for an audit. The commission is the third biggest donor to UNRWA after the United States and Germany.

It said that the agency has now “indicated that it stands ready to ensure that a review of its staff is carried out to confirm they did not participate in the attacks and that further controls are put in place to mitigate such risks in the future.”

The commission said that two further tranches of funding worth $17.3 million each will be given to UNRWA as it complies with the agreement.

UNRWA is on the brink of financial collapse. In a post on X, formerly Twitter, UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini welcomed the EU’s announcement and said that the commitment to provide money next week “comes at a critical time.”

TURKEY DENOUNCES ISRAELI FORCES FIRING ON PALESTINIANS WHO WERE WAITING FOR AID DELIVERY

ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey denounced Israeli forces firing on Palestinians waiting for the delivery of aid as “yet another crime against humanity.”

In a statement issued late Thursday, the Turkish Foreign Ministry accused Israel of using “starvation as a weapon of war in Gaza” and alleged that the latest event, which left more than 100 people dead, was evidence “of Israel’s intention to destroy the entire Palestinian population.”

“The entire world must realise that the atrocity in Gaza is about to become a global catastrophe with repercussions far beyond the region,” the ministry said. “We therefore call on all those with influence over the Israeli government to stop the ongoing violence in Gaza.”

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