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Israel Forces Fire On Gazans Rushing For Food Aid

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Israeli forces in war-torn Gaza opened fire on Palestinians scrambling for food aid in a chaotic melee on Thursday that the health ministry in the Hamas-run territory said killed more than 100 people.

The Israeli military said a “stampede” occurred when thousands of desperate Gazans surrounded a convoy of 38 aid trucks, leading to dozens of deaths and injuries, including some who were run over by the lorries.

An Israeli source acknowledged troops had opened fire on the crowd, believing it “posed a threat”.

The Gaza health ministry condemned what it called a “massacre” in Gaza City in which 112 people were killed and more than 750 others wounded.

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The incident adds to a Palestinian death toll from the war which the ministry earlier Thursday said had topped 30,000, and dampens hopes a truce deal between Israel and Hamas militants could be just days away.

There were conflicting reports on what exactly unfolded in the hours before dawn.

A witness in Gaza City, declining to be named for safety reasons, said violence unfolded when thousands of people rushed towards aid trucks at the city’s western Nabulsi roundabout, and soldiers fired at the crowd “as people came too close” to tanks.

Israeli army spokesman Daniel Hagari said the military had fired “a few warning shots” to try to disperse a crowd that had ambushed the aid trucks.

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When the crowd got too big, he said the convoy tried to retreat and “the unfortunate incident resulted in dozens of Gazans killed and injured”.

Aerial images released by the Israeli army showed what it said were scores of Gazans surrounding aid trucks in Gaza City.

Ali Awad Ashqir, who said he had gone to get some food for his starving family, told AFP he had been waiting for two hours when trucks began to arrive.

“The moment they arrived, the occupation army fired artillery shells and guns,” he said.

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The army spokesman Hagari later denied Israeli forces carried out any shelling or strikes at the time.

‘Another day from hell’
US President Joe Biden said Washington was checking “two competing versions” of the incident, while a State Department spokesman said the United States had been in touch with Israel and was “pressing for answers” on what happened.

The shooting incident would complicate efforts to broker a truce, Biden said, later admitting that any deal was unlikely to happen by Monday — the timeline that he had predicted earlier this week.

The US president spoke with Qatari and Egyptian leaders in separate phone calls, the White House said, saying he discussed both the ceasefire and the “tragic and alarming” aid incident.

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The UN Security Council will hold a closed-door emergency meeting on the incident on Thursday afternoon.

Saudi Arabia strongly condemned what it called the “targeting” of unarmed civilians, while Kuwait and the UAE also issued condemnations.

Qatar warned that Israel’s “disregard for Palestinian blood… (will) pave the way for an expanding cycle of violence”.

Italy called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza to facilitate more humanitarian aid.

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Looting of aid trucks has previously occurred in northern Gaza, where desperate residents have taken to eating animal fodder and even leaves to try to stave off starvation, as aid groups warn of looming famine after nearly five months of war.

The chief of the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, said that no UN agency had been involved in Thursday’s aid delivery, and called it “another day from hell”.

Truce hopes
The war began on October 7 with an unprecedented Hamas attack on southern Israel that resulted in the deaths of around 1,160 people, mostly civilians, Israeli figures show.

Militants also took about 250 hostages, 130 of whom remain in Gaza, including 31 Israel says are presumed dead.

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Israel’s retaliatory military campaign has killed 30,035 people, according to the Hamas-run Gaza’s health ministry.

Israel’s military says 242 soldiers have died in Gaza since ground operations began in late October.

Washington, a key ally of Israel, has been pushing for a reduction in civilian casualties and a ceasefire.

It has been working with mediators from Egypt and Qatar to seek a six-week pause in the war.

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Negotiators had hoped a truce could begin by around March 10 or 11 when the Muslim holy month of Ramadan begins, depending on the lunar calendar.

The proposals reportedly include the release of some Israeli hostages held in Gaza by militants in exchange for hundreds of Palestinians held in Israeli prisons.

Short of the complete withdrawal Hamas has called for, a source from the group said the deal might see Israeli forces leave “cities and populated areas”, allowing the return of some displaced Palestinians and humanitarian relief.

Fears of famine
The World Food Programme has said Israel has blocked access for aid deliveries — which Israeli officials have denied — and warned that if nothing changes, “a famine is imminent in northern Gaza”.

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As fighting continued in Gaza, Muhammad Yassin, 35, battled to find flour in Zeitun.

“We have not eaten a loaf of bread for two months,” he said. “Our children are starving.”

In the south, nearly 1.5 million people trying to flee the fighting are now packed into Rafah city, also short of food, as Israel threatens to send in troops against Hamas fighters.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has come under increasing pressure to bring the remaining hostages home.

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A group of 150 Israelis have started a four-day march from Reim, near the Gaza border, to Jerusalem, calling for the government to reach a deal.

Violence has also surged in the occupied West Bank, where two Israelis were killed on Thursday.

AFP

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He Was Never Fit To Run, Serve – Trump Mocks Biden

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Former US President, Donald Trump has reacted to the news that President Joe Biden has stepped down from his re-election campaign.

Trump said all those around Biden, including his Doctor and the Media, knew that he wasn’t capable of being President.

In a statement on his Truth Social handle, Trump said that Biden was not fit to run for President, and also certainly not fit to serve.

The former president also claimed that Biden attained the position of President by lies and fake news.

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He said: “Crooked Joe Biden was not fit to run for President, and is certainly not fit to serve – And never was! He only attained the position of President by lies, Fake News, and not leaving his Basement.

“All those around him, including his Doctor and the Media, knew that he wasn’t capable of being President, and he wasn’t – And now, look what he’s done to our Country, with millions of people coming across our Border, totally unchecked and unvetted, many from prisons, mental institutions, and record numbers of terrorists.

“We will suffer greatly because of his presidency, but we will remedy the damage he has done very quickly. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”

NNH reported that Biden announced his withdrawal from the 2024 presidential election on Sunday.

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He said it was in the interest of his party and Americans.

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LONGEVITY: Twin sisters mark 100th birthday together (Photos)

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Loris Pryor and Doris Ward, an American pair of twin sisters, who are from Michigan, have celebrated their 100th birthday together in very good health.

The sisters, Loris Pryor and Doris Ward were born during in 1924.

On Wednesday, July 17, they marked a century of life together.

“We are always together with everything. She ain’t go without me. I ain’t go without her. Always together,” Pryor said.

The twins celebrated over the weekend with a birthday party that brought out all their family and friends.

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In total, they have nine children and have witnessed several generations of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

“All I can say is that it’s a blessing to be here at 100 years old,” Ward said. “The good Lord blessed us to still see our family.”

Even after a full century, the twins still do everything together, including trips to the casino. But they say their favorite memories are of dancing.

“We did a lot of dancing,” Ward said.

“To live this long, I never thought it would happen or not happen. I never thought about it,” Pryor said.

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The sisters say that living as long as they have is a gift.

“Life is very precious, or I wouldn’t be here. It’s just precious to live this long,” Pryor said.

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Couple Found Dead After Trying To Sail Across Atlantic Ocean

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The couple had embarked on a transatlantic sailing trip and were last seen on June 18, when they departed Nova Scotia in their 13-meter eco-friendly yacht, Theros.

The remains of Sarah Packwood, a British national, and her Canadian husband, Brett Clibbery, have been recovered on a life raft that washed ashore on Sable Island, near Nova Scotia, Canada, on July 12.

The couple had embarked on a transatlantic sailing trip and were last seen on June 18, when they departed Nova Scotia in their 13-meter eco-friendly yacht, Theros.

After being reported missing, an extensive search effort was launched. Unfortunately, it is believed that the couple abandoned their vessel and tragically lost their lives before being discovered on the life raft almost six weeks later, BBC reports.

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They were on the way to the Azores – about 3,228 km away – with the trip planned to take 21 days.

In a post on Facebook, Mr Clibbery’s son James confirmed the pair had died.

He said, “The past few days have been very hard. My father James Brett Clibbery, and his wife, Sarah Justine Packwood have regrettably passed away.

“There is still an investigation, as well as a DNA test to confirm, but with all the news, it is hard to remain hopeful.

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“So far this has made it to several news outlets around the country, and I have only just spoken to the coroner today. I am so very sorry to the people who were friends of them. They were amazing people, and there isn’t anything that will fill the hole that has been left by their, so far unexplained passing.

“Living will not be the same without your wisdom, and your wife was quickly becoming a beacon of knowledge, and kindness. I miss your smiles. I miss your voices. You will be forever missed.”

An investigation is still under way, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police told the BBC on Sunday.

According to Saltwire, a Canadian news outlet, investigators are considering the possibility that the yacht may have been involved in a collision with a cargo ship that went unnoticed by the larger vessel.

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This is one of several theories being explored as part of the ongoing investigation into the circumstances surrounding the couple’s disappearance and the subsequent discovery of their remains on a life raft.

On their YouTube channel, Theros Adventures, Sarah Packwood and Brett Clibbery shared details about their sailing trip, known as the Green Odyssey.

In a video, they explained their plan to utilize a combination of sustainable power sources, including sails, solar panels, batteries, and a repurposed electric car engine, to propel their 13-meter yacht, Theros, across the Atlantic Ocean.

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