ICRC calls on parties to Gaza war to protect civilians
The ICRC said in a press release on Saturday that civilians have "overwhelmingly borne the brunt" of the fighting in the Palestinian enclave and Israel so far.
Israeli forces have so far killed over 15,200 people in a devastating bombing campaign and ground offensive. Hamas's surprise 7 October attack killed some 1,200 in Israel and saw around 240 people taken hostage. During a weeklong truce that ended on Friday, 110 of the captives were freed, as were 240 Palestinians held by Israel.
The ICRC said that following the return to hostilities, the organisation worries the civilian population "now faces increased suffering".
"A very high number of civilians have been killed and maimed, including thousands of children. Homes, hospitals, and other infrastructure critical to the survival of the civilian population have suffered colossal destruction," said Pascal Hundt, in charge of ICRC operations in Gaza.
"Current conditions do not allow for a meaningful humanitarian response, and I fear will spell disaster for the civilian population."
The ICRC said the rules of international humanitarian law must be followed by all parties to the Gaza war.
Civilians, including medical staff, must be protected and respected, the organisation said.
It added that "everything possible must be done to avoid or minimise" civilian casualties and damage to civilian homes and infrastructure.
The ICRC said hostages must be released and that humanitarian relief must for civilians in need must be allowed swift and unhindered passage.