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US: Dozens Killed Shows Urgency for Ceasefire

US: Dozens Killed Shows Urgency for Ceasefire

(Keystone SDA) US President Joe Biden has pressed for a quick ceasefire deal after dozens of people died as aid arrived in the Gaza Strip. According to the White House, Biden spoke by phone with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani on Thursday. In phone calls, the White House said all those involved expressed their sorrow for the loss of life among civilians. It was a “sad and dangerous incident”.

It was agreed that the incident underscored the need for an early conclusion of negotiations and expansion of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip. Biden is also said to have discussed with the Egyptian president and the emir of Qatar “how we can sustain such a long period of peace” with a view to a ceasefire.

The Hamas-controlled health authority in the Gaza Strip said more than a hundred people were killed and hundreds more injured in Thursday's incident. The Israeli army said a large number of residents had gathered to loot trucks carrying relief supplies. Dozens were killed and injured as a result of the commotion and mobbing. According to reports, people were also run over by trucks. The information could not be independently verified at first.

Several Israeli media outlets, citing military sources, said that for an undisclosed reason, some of the crowd approached Israeli soldiers who were coordinating the importation of the trucks, putting them at risk. As a result, the soldiers opened fire on the mob.

The Muslim fasting month of Ramadan begins on March 10. It is uncertain whether international mediators will be able to negotiate a new hostage exchange agreement by then. Cautiously optimistic signals have recently come from the United States and Qatar, along with Egypt, for indirect talks between Israel and the Islamist Hamas.