ICRC bulletin - Gaza

Palestinians check and search for survivors in a two-storey building that was brought down by an Israeli strike in Gaza city July 15, 2006. (MaanImages/Wesam Saleh)

General situation

Last Thursday (13 July) was particularly heavy in terms of casualties, as the Palestinian Ministry of Health announced the death of 26 people within 24 hours.

During the reporting period, air, land and sea shelling continued in various areas of the Gaza Strip, causing many casualties, including civilians.

On 13 July, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) declared the central part of the Gaza Strip a closed military zone and imposed a curfew on its 1,200 residents till the next day. On 16 July, the IDF heavily shelled Beit Hanun. The exact number of casualties is unknown, but at least three houses were destroyed.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Gaza City was shelled early on the morning of 13 July. Ten people were injured and the building suffered extensive damage. The building was subsequently bombed, late on 16 July. On 15 July, an air strike hit the building of the Palestinian Ministry of National Economy, causing severe damage.

During the reporting period, rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip into Israel. No casualties were reported.

On 15 July, Palestinian militants managed to break through the wall at the Rafah crossing. Palestinians stranded there for over two weeks poured into the Gaza Strip. The crossing was sealed off again on 16 July.

The scarcity of fuel continues to be a major problem, and is having both direct and indirect effects on public services. Sewage stations are barely functioning and the risk of cross-contamination is increasing. Certain wells have broken down. The lack fuel made it impossible to collect refuse, which was piling up in the streets of Gaza city until the municipal authority received a donation of fuel.

ICRC action

The ICRC has:

  • Distributed 30,000 litres of fuel to water stations in the Gaza Strip, bringing to 68,000 litres the total quantity of fuel the ICRC has distributed so far to the water and sewerage stations here; a further 35,000 litres was expected in Gaza on 17 July.
  • Imported six truckloads of relief items for the ICRC and the PRCS through the Karni crossing on 16 July.
  • Processed three additional ambulances through the Erez crossing and handed them over to the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) on 16 July.
  • Held a meeting with representatives of families of people detained in Israel. The ICRC explained the efforts it was making to resume the programme under which families could visit their detained relatives. It reassured the representatives that ICRC delegates were continuing their visits to detainees in Israel and the West Bank.
  • Continued to coordinate access to areas close to military positions or operations, either for medical evacuation or to allow repair of damaged infrastructure (power and water networks). The ICRC managed to arrange for the passage of several PRCS ambulances, but in some cases access was not granted in time.
  • Provided eight food parcels and nine hygiene kits to nine families in Beit Lahia after their houses were either occupied or partially destroyed during military operations.
  • Visited the PRCS Hospital in Khan Yunis to assess needs and identify any shortages. Staff there did not make any urgent requests, but they did express concern about the supply of fuel.

    Related Links

  • BY TOPIC: Israel invades Gaza (27 June 2006)