Two killed as Gaza medics 'targeted' by Israel forces, Palestine Red Crescent says

Two killed as Gaza medics 'targeted' by Israel forces, Palestine Red Crescent says
Two medics were killed after health ministry ambulances were hit by an Israeli airstrike in northern Gaza on Saturday, Palestine Red Crescent Society spokesperson Nebal Farsakh said.
3 min read
08 October, 2023
Israeli forces are bombing Gaza amid an escalation with the Palestinian armed group Hamas [Abed Rahim Khatib/Anadolu Agency/Getty]

Israeli forces have "targeted" medics in besieged Gaza, killing two in an airstrike, the Palestine Red Crescent Society said.

It comes amid a deadly escalation between Hamas and Israel sparked when the Palestinian armed group launched a surprise attack inside Israeli territory on Saturday. The fighting has killed hundreds in both Israel and Gaza.

Red Crescent spokesperson Nebal Farsakh said two health ministry ambulances were hit by an Israeli airstrike in the city of Jabalia in northern Gaza on Saturday.

"This has resulted in a number of injuries and fatalities as well," she added.

"We were able to transfer two fatalities. They were [from the] medical teams from those two ambulances."

Former colleague

One of those killed was a former Red Crescent volunteer.

"Our colleagues were shocked when they saw their ex-colleague died," Farsakh said.

She said Red Crescent teams were risking their lives and that the organisation had documented four violations by Israeli forces against its medical missions in Gaza.

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One Red Crescent ambulance was allegedly hit by live ammunition.

Farsakh said another was severely damaged after an air raid took place close to its position. Two staff members were injured, including a volunteer who is in critical condition.

Two buildings were also allegedly damaged after airstrikes hit nearby.

"The situation in Gaza is really dangerous. It's a very highly densely populated area. In any attack or any raid, absolutely civilians and medical missions as well are a target," Farsakh said.

"We're facing a great challenge regarding conducting our humanitarian role in Gaza. Our teams are working under severe, dangerous conditions."

The official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported that Israeli forces shot a missile at a Red Crescent ambulance outside a hospital in southern Gaza on Saturday, causing several injuries, but Farsakh said the vehicle belonged to the health ministry.

The Red Crescent has around 28 working ambulances in Gaza with another 10 that are on standby.

The organisation also has some 96 paramedics and first responders working in the field.

Farsakh called for a humanitarian corridor to be opened to allow aid and medical supplies to enter Gaza and let patients in critical condition receive urgent treatment outside the resource-strapped enclave.

There was a shortage of food for civilians, she said, adding that there was a danger hospitals could start lacking medical supplies.

'One of the most violent days'

Mahmoud Shalabi, senior programme manager in Gaza for UK-based charity Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP), said hospitals in the strip were overwhelmed with dead bodies and casualties.

"Yesterday [Saturday] was one of the most violent days we have ever witnessed in Gaza, with hospitals overwhelmed by casualties within hours," he said.

"This is why MAP is releasing everything in our pre-positioned stocks, and are working to ensure we can continue to provide the basic supplies medical teams need to save lives."

The value of the pre-positioned stocks is $570,000, MAP said on its website.

Shalabi said residential buildings were being destroyed, leaving some 20,000 people internally displaced.

"The streets are empty and people fear the worst is yet to come amid all the international support Israel is having at the moment," he added.

MAP has launched an emergency appeal as it responds to the situation in Gaza.

The New Arab contacted the Israeli army for comment but did not receive an immediate response.