Fact Check: IDF DID Fire Shots Near Site Of Gaza Trampling Incident On February 29, 2024

Fact Check

  • by: Uliana Malashenko
Fact Check: IDF DID Fire Shots Near Site Of Gaza Trampling Incident On February 29, 2024 IDF Confirmed

Did the Israel Defense Forces not open fire near trucks delivering humanitarian aid to Gaza on February 29, 2024? No, that's not true: The Israel Defense Forces officially acknowledged that Israeli soldiers fired shots within proximity of the incident. However the exact circumstances of the events leading up to the death of dozens of people remain disputed at the time of writing.

The claim appeared in a post (archived here) on Instagram on February 29, 2024. The caption said:

CNN should probably be classified as a terrorist organization at this point. If they're knowingly reporting false stories AND working with Hamas, they're not a news organization, they're a propaganda network.

#themisfitpatriot #uncancellable #banchamp #mpuncensored #misfitpatriot #political #news #maga #liberal #conservative #memes #donaldtrump #democrats #republican #meme #america #democrat #trump #politics #usa #freedom #republican #ig #Instagram #reels #breakingnews #breaking #News #viral #trending

This is what the post looked like at the time of writing:

Screen Shot 2024-03-01 at 12.44.40 PM.png

(Source: Instagram screenshot taken on Fri Mar 1 17:44:40 2024 UTC)

The post contained a video of a bearded man in a green hoodie, seen in front of a screenshot of a different post (archived here) published by the CNN Breaking News account on X, formerly known as Twitter. (The video's screenshot shows X with the background set to black.) That post said:

At least 100 killed and 700 injured in chaotic incident where IDF opened fire as people waited for food in Gaza, Palestinian officials say

The man in the video mocked the CNN post and implied that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) did not fire on anyone in the February 29, 2024, incident:

The evil idea of Zionists have mowed down more innocent Palestinians where they opened fire as people were just waiting for food! Palestinian officials said it, so it must be true. They would never lie about anything! If only we had a video of this incident, so we could verify it. Oh, yeah, we do actually. As you can see here, these people trampled each other for the humanitarian aid that the IDF dropped off. It wasn't bait. They didn't start opening fire. They just dropped it. And these people started killing each other.

The man referenced the video the IDF had shared after the incident. This drone footage was widely distributed by many media outlets, including CNN. For example, it was seen at the beginning of CNN host Wolf Blitzer's February 29, 2024, interview with IDF spokesperson Lt. Col. Peter Lerner and at the 1:11 mark in fellow CNN host Christiane Amanpour's interview that same day with a special adviser to President Benjamin Netanyahu, Mark Regev.

The IDF's spokesperson, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, acknowledged that Israeli forces did fire shots on the day of the trampling. His February 29, 2024, statement (archived here) on the IDF website reads:

An IDF force that was securing the area passed by the crowd and opened fire only when they encountered danger, when the mob moved toward it in a manner that endangered the force.

The Times of Israel reported (archived here) that the Israeli military took responsibility for some deaths: As cited by the newspaper, the IDF said that "fewer than 10 of the casualties were a result of Israeli fire." Other Israeli officials' statements did not say that.

The New York Times, whose journalists published (archived here) on March 1, 2024, an analysis of available video evidence about the trampling wrote that one of the IDF clips showed about 10 people lying on the ground around Israeli tanks. However, the newspaper pointed out that the videos did not show the moment of shooting, and, therefore, did not capture the entire scene. In a different article, The New York Times added that the IDF "declined to provide unedited footage."

On March 1, 2024, Israel's Lt. Col Richard Hecht told (archived here) MSNBC that the soldiers did not open fire intentionally, but he did not deny that some shots were fired. According to Hecht, it happened "at the end of the convoy."

What remains disputed is whether the shots triggered the panic and the subsequent stampede or whether they were fired afterward. It is also unclear how many people were killed or injured by the shots and how many casualties were caused by the stampede.

Other Lead Stories fact checks of claims about the Hamas-Israel war that began on October 7, 2023, can be found here.

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  Uliana Malashenko

Uliana Malashenko is a New York-based freelance writer and fact checker.

Read more about or contact Uliana Malashenko

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