Israel agrees to ceasefire framework, US airdrops food into Gaza, Palestinian women allege abuse

Smoke rises following an Israeli bombardment on southern Lebanon as seen from northern Israel, Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024.
Smoke rises following an Israeli bombardment on southern Lebanon as seen from northern Israel, Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024. Copyright Ariel Schalit/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved.
By Euronews with AP
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All the latest developments from the Israel Hamas war.

Israel has agreed to ceasefire framework - US

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Israel has essentially endorsed a framework of a proposed Gaza ceasefire and hostage release deal, a senior US administration official said Saturday.

It is now up to Hamas to agree. 

The Israelis “have more or less accepted” the proposal, which includes the six-week ceasefire in Gaza as well as the release by Hamas of hostages considered to be vulnerable, which includes the sick, the wounded, the elderly and women, said the official.

“The Israelis have basically signed on to the elements of the arrangement,” they added. 

“Right now, the ball is in the court of Hamas and we are continuing to push this as hard as we possibly can.”

The official briefed reporters on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to publicly discuss details of the ongoing cease-fire talks.

US airdrops humanitarian aid into Gaza

US military planes dropped thousands of meals into Gaza on Saturday, two days after more than 100 Palestinians were killed after crowds surging for aid were fired on by Israeli troops. 

Three planes from Air Forces Central dropped 66 bundles containing about 38,000 meals into the enclave, according to two US officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity. 

The airdrop is expected to be the first of many announced by President Joe Biden on Friday. Operations will be coordinated with Jordan, which has also conducted airdrops to deliver food to Gaza. 

Gaza's Health Ministry says at least 115 Palestinians were killed on Thursday and more than 750 others were injured after fire from Israeli troops caused a chaotic stampede. 

Israel said its troops fired at some in the crowd who were rushing for aid, claiming they moved toward them in a threatening way. 

However, international observers have documented many bullet wounds among the injured still in hospital. 

The increasing desperation of Gazans, who are on the brink of famine, has led to many aid convoys being mobbed. 

'They wanted to humiliate us': Palestinian women allege abuse in Israeli custody

Nabela thought the United Nations school in Gaza City was a safe haven. Then, the Israeli army arrived.

Soldiers stormed the place, ordering men to undress and hauling women to a mosque for strip searches, she said. So began six weeks in Israeli custody that the Palestinian woman says included repeated beatings and interrogations.

“The soldiers were very harsh, they beat us and screamed at us in Hebrew,” said the 39-year-old from Gaza City, who spoke on condition that her last name not be used for fear of arrest. “If we raised our heads or uttered any words, they beat us on the head.”

One woman detained from Gaza, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, told the AP news agency that before she was moved to Israel's Damon Prison, Israeli forces ordered her to kiss an Israeli flag. When she refused, a soldier grabbed her by the hair, smashing her face into a wall, she said.

Another woman, whose name was redacted, said she was urinated on by guards at Ketziot Prison in southern Israel. She also witnessed strip searches where guards forced naked detainees to stand close to each other and inserted search devices into their buttocks.

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It's not known how many women or minors have been detained by Israeli forces, though male detainees have also alleged widespread physical abuse. 

Rights groups say Israel is “disappearing” Palestinians - detaining them without charge or trial and not disclosing to family or lawyers where they’re held. 

Israel’s prison service says all “basic rights required are fully applied by professionally trained prison guards.”

Its military said it makes detainees undress to search for explosives, bringing detainees into Israel before releasing them back into Gaza if they're deemed innocent.

Many gunshot wounds after aid convoy bloodshed - UN

A United Nations team has documented "a large number of gunshot wounds" among those still being treated for injuries following a rush on an aid convoy in Gaza. 

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At Gaza City's al-Shifa Hospital, the international observers saw some 200 people injured in Thursday’s deadly incident that happened as Palestinians sought aid from a humanitarian convoy. 

Hamas says Israeli forces fired upon the crowd. Israel claims they died in a stampede. 

On Saturday, the European Union's diplomatic service added that many Palestinians killed or wounded in the chaos were hit by Israeli army fire. 

Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024, Palestinians surround aid trucks in northern Gaza in what officials described the day before as the first major delivery in a month.
Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024, Palestinians surround aid trucks in northern Gaza in what officials described the day before as the first major delivery in a month.AP/AP

On Friday, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said that Shifa reportedly received more than 700 injured people and more than 70 dead bodies after the bloodshed. 

With the famine looming in the Gaza Strip, desperate Palestinians have mobbed and looted aid convoys in recent weeks. 

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Rights groups and international organisations have accused Israel of using starvation as a weapon of war, obstructing the delivery of essential resources, hindering humanitarian aid and destroying key infrastructure that supplies of food and water depend on.

Residents in northern Gaza say they have taken to searching piles of rubble and garbage for anything to feed their children, who barely eat one meal a day. 

Many families have begun mixing animal and bird food with grain to bake bread. International aid officials say they have encountered catastrophic hunger.

“We’re dying from starvation,” said Soad Abu Hussein, a widow and mother of five children who has taken shelter in a school in the Jabaliya refugee camp.

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