Biden discusses 'tragic and alarming incident' in Gaza with Egypt, Qatar leaders

FILE PHOTO: President Biden hosts roundtable discussion on public safety at the White House

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Joe Biden discussed the "tragic and alarming incident" in northern Gaza on Thursday with the leaders of Egypt and Qatar, as well as ways to secure the release of Hamas hostages and a six-week ceasefire, the White House said.

Gaza health authorities said more than 100 Palestinians had been shot dead by Israeli forces as they waited for a food aid delivery, but Israel challenged the death toll and said many of the victims had been run over by aid trucks.

In separate calls, Biden discussed the deadly incident in northern Gaza with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani

The leaders "grieved the loss of civilian lives and agreed that this incident underscored the urgency of bringing negotiations to a close as soon as possible and expanding the flow of humanitarian assistance into Gaza," the White House said.

At least 112 people were killed and more than 280 wounded in the incident near Gaza City, Palestinian health officials said, as the Palestinian death toll in nearly five months of war passed 30,000. Israel disputed the account provided by Gaza health officials.

Biden and the two leaders also underscored that the release of the remaining hostages, who were seized by Hamas militants in their Oct. 7 attack on Israel, would result in an immediate and sustained ceasefire in Gaza over a period of at least six weeks, the White House said.

They also discussed how a ceasefire could help them surge humanitarian aid into the small seaside enclave, whose 2.3 million population is facing acute food shortages and other perils.

(Reporting by Katharine Jackson; writing by Paul Grant; Editing by Doina Chiacu)