U.N. and Medical Companies Condemn Israel’s Gaza Ambulance Strike

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By Calvin S. Nelson

GAZA (Reuters) – The United Nations Secretary Normal and assist businesses working in Gaza have condemned Israel’s air strike on an ambulance on Friday, which the Israeli navy mentioned, with out displaying proof, was carrying Hamas militants.

The Well being Ministry, a hospital director and the Palestinian Crimson Crescent Society within the Hamas-controlled enclave have mentioned the Israeli strike focused a convoy of ambulances evacuating wounded folks from the besieged northern Gaza space.

Mohammad Abu Selmeyah the director of al-Shifa Hospital, the place an ambulance was hit, mentioned 15 folks had been killed within the strike and 60 injured. These killed and injured had been primarily folks standing by the hospital gate, slightly than contained in the automobiles, he mentioned.

Israel’s navy mentioned late on Friday it could current extra proof that an ambulance it struck was being utilized by Hamas to move fighters and that the group used ambulances to maneuver militants and weapons as “a technique of operation”. Hamas has denied each accusations.

U.N. Secretary Normal Antonio Guterres mentioned in a social media publish on Saturday “I’m horrified by the reported assault in Gaza on an ambulance convoy”.

The World Well being Organisation mentioned it condemned the strike and the medical charity Medicins Sans Frontieres described it as “horrendous”, and “a brand new low in an infinite stream of unconscionable violence”.

The Palestinian Crimson Crescent Society (PCRS) mentioned in an announcement {that a} group of 5 ambulances was searching for to move folks wounded by Israeli bombardment from al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza Metropolis to the Rafah border crossing with Egypt.

The journey would have required crossing from the northern half of the enclave, which has now been solely surrounded by Israeli forces, into the southern space the place Israel has not but despatched floor troops, however which additionally it is bombarding.

Abu Selmeyah mentioned the wounded folks being evacuated within the convoy had their names listed at Rafah for permission to enter Egypt. Egypt’s Well being Ministry didn’t instantly reply to a Reuters request for remark however an announcement it put out on Friday mentioned that 28 injured folks had been anticipated at Rafah on that day.

Israel’s navy assault, aimed toward destroying Hamas, is a response to the militant group’s Oct. 7 assault on Israeli cities which Israel says killed 1,400 folks. Well being authorities in Hamas-run Gaza say Israeli bombardment has killed 9,488 folks.

The PRCS mentioned Friday’s ambulance convoy was pressured to show again some 4 km (2.6 miles) from the hospital as a result of the highway was blocked with rubble from shelling.

Because it returned by way of Gaza Metropolis, about 1km from the hospital, the lead ambulance was focused by a missile that broken it, wounding each its crew and the injured affected person inside, the PCRS mentioned.

The organisation mentioned it was accountable for one of many 5 ambulances within the convoy carrying a 35-year-old girl with shrapnel accidents. It mentioned because it was unloading the girl from the ambulance on the hospital gate, one other missile struck the automobile injuring the driving force and a medic.

Movies verified by Reuters of the aftermath confirmed quite a few folks mendacity susceptible in swimming pools of blood close to ambulances.

MSF quoted one in every of its medical doctors working at al-Shifa hospital, whom it recognized as Dr. Obaid, saying “We had been standing contained in the hospital gate when the ambulance was immediately hit in entrance of us. There have been bloody our bodies in every single place”.

Requested in regards to the incident, a spokesperson for the Worldwide Committee of the Crimson Cross in Geneva mentioned “we’re heartbroken to see medical companies in Gaza put in hurt’s approach”.

The ICRC spokesperson mentioned the Palestinian Crimson Crescent Society, which mentioned it owned one of many ambulances within the convoy, has “a powerful observe document offering life saving companies. Like all of the organisations forming a part of the Crimson Cross Crimson Crescent Motion they’re certain by rules of neutrality and impartiality”.

(Reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza; Extra reporting by Sarah El Safty in Cairo and Oliver Hirt in Geneva; Writing by Angus McDowall; Modifying by Philippa Fletcher)

Copyright 2023 Thomson Reuters.

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