Israeli forces target PCRS ambulance in Gaza

The medical humanitarian organisation, Médecins du Monde, is working in the Gaza Strip alongside the emergency services of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS). Our team witnessed that a PRCS ambulance carrying out rescue operations was targeted by shots from the Israeli armed forces this morning, as an incursion south-east of Gaza was taking place.

At dawn, Israeli tanks and military vehicles coming from the colony of Netzarim penetrated the area of Zeitoun on the south-eastern outskirts of Gaza. Towards 7.30 a.m. an ambulance at the PRCS base in Gaza was called to the scene to provide aid for the wounded. The team of ambulance workers attempted to take care of two wounded people situated a dozen metres from armoured Israelis. But as they approached the victims, the ambulance was fired at by shots originating from the Israeli military vehicles. The shots pierced the middle of the ambulance’s windscreen.

The ambulance driver received slight wounds to the eye from shards of windscreen glass. The volunteer ambulance worker with the driver was eventually able to give aid to the wounded after first having to take shelter momentarily. Both workers confirmed with the rest of Médecins du Monde team, that their vehicle was always clearly identifiable with its siren on and its light flashing constantly to signal its presence in the area. As well as the shots directed at the ambulance, two fires broke out as the ambulance left the area where this incident took place.

This morning, the PRCS ambulance workers took care of five wounded people and transported six Palestinians killed during this military incursion. The current assessment is that there are at least eight dead and seven injured Palestinians.

Médecins du Monde strenuously denounces these attacks carried out on its health workers and their medical vehicles. Such acts constitute grave violations of Human Rights, most notably the fourth Geneva Convention that relates to protecting civilian populations. (Articles 18, 20 and 21)

For further information, contact:

Jerusalem: Sébastien Laplanche. Tel 972 57 24 94 50
Gaza: Nathalie Godard. Tel 972 59 416 859
Paris: Laure Weisgerber/ Annabelle Quenet. Tel: 33 1 44 92 14 31
London: Michelle Hawkins. Tel: 00 44 (0)20 7516 9103