ambulance convoy attack

In a tragic incident in the besieged Gaza Strip, an Israeli airstrike targeted an ambulance convoy near al-Shifa Hospital, resulting in the loss of 15 lives and injuries to 60 individuals. Health officials and aid workers were quick to condemn the attack, emphasising the devastating consequences of violence in this conflict.

The convoy, comprised of ambulances transporting critically wounded patients from Al-Shifa Hospital to the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, was mercilessly attacked by Israeli forces. Ashraf al-Qudra, a spokesman for the Health Ministry, made it clear that the victims were medical patients, emphasizing that “this was a medical convoy.”

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) also expressed its outrage, pointing out that the convoy had been clearly marked as a medical mission. They revealed that the convoy had to return after just 4 kilometers due to heavy shelling and obstacles on Gaza’s coastal road. Tragically, an ambulance belonging to the health ministry was directly hit by an Israeli missile, resulting in casualties. The convoy pressed on, but another PRCS ambulance was targeted just meters from the hospital gate, leading to 15 fatalities and 60 injuries.

The deliberate targeting of medical teams is a clear violation of the Geneva Conventions, constituting a war crime, as stated by the PRCS. The international community’s response was swift and unified. The World Health Organization’s Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, expressed his shock at the attack, tweeting: “Utterly shocked by reports of attacks on ambulances evacuating patients close to Al-Shifa hospital in #Gaza, leading to deaths, injuries and damage. We reiterate: patients, health workers, facilities, and ambulances must be protected at all times. Always.”

Al-Shifa Hospital, Gaza’s largest medical facility, has been grappling with severe overcrowding, with a bed occupancy rate of 164 percent, further exacerbated by Israel’s ongoing bombardment and blockade. As a result of the bombing and fuel shortages, over 16 hospitals across Gaza are no longer operational, creating a dire situation for patients.

The strike on the ambulance convoy has sparked international outrage, with many countries and organizations condemning the attack. The United Nations Secretary-General, aid agencies, and humanitarian groups have all spoken out against the violence and demanded accountability.

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