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Monday Briefing: Fears of Anarchy Grow in Gaza

Palestinians who were wounded by Israeli gunfire while waiting for aid last week, according to health officials.Credit…Kosay Al Nemer/Reuters

Gaza’s deadly leadership vacuum

Last week, more than 100 people were killed in northern Gaza, health officials there said, after thousands of Gazans rushed at aid trucks. The crush on Thursday led to a stampede and prompted Israeli soldiers to fire at the crowd.

The immediate causes were extreme hunger and desperation: The U.N. has warned that famine is looming in northern Gaza, where roughly 300,000 civilians are still stranded and aid deliveries are rare — and can be fraught.

But there is a deeper problem: Even though fighting has ebbed in the north, Israel has been reluctant to fill the current leadership vacuum there. In trying to prevent Hamas from rebuilding, Israel stopped police officers from the Hamas-led government from escorting the trucks — and has delayed the creation of any alternative Palestinian law enforcement.

That means that there is no centralized body to coordinate the provision of services, enforce law and order, and protect the aid trucks. Video has emerged of armed groups attacking convoys, and diplomats say criminal gangs are beginning to fill the void left by Hamas.

Victims: More than 30,000 Gazans have been killed during Israel’s bombardment and invasion during the war. Here are some of their stories.

Red Sea: A British-owned cargo ship sank about two weeks after it was hit by the Houthis. It was carrying fertilizer, which could pose environmental risks to the waterway.

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