In Gaza, Israel accused of targeted attack against the Red Cross, at least 22 dead to deplore

In Gaza, Israel accused of targeted attack against the Red Cross, at least 22 dead to deplore
In Gaza, Israel accused of targeted attack against the Red Cross, at least 22 dead to deplore
BASHAR TALEB / AFP A man walks on fallen tents the day after an attack on the al-Mawasi area, near Rafah, June 22, 2024.

BASHAR TALEB / AFP

A man walks on fallen tents the day after an attack on the al-Mawasi area, near Rafah, June 22, 2024.

INTERNATIONAL – “Balls of fire”, describe the witnesses. The International Committee of the Red Cross deplored the death of at least 22 people in an attack carried out with shells this Friday, June 21 near its office in the Gaza Strip. A site surrounded by hundreds of Gazans who fled the fighting living in tents. A total of 45 other people were injured, according to the humanitarian organization.

The territory’s Health Ministry, run by Hamas, reported 25 dead and 50 injured in the bombing, which it blamed on Israel. Hamas authorities said Friday’s Israeli gunfire had “targeted the tents of displaced people in the al-Mawasi area”, close to Rafah.

For his part, an Israeli army spokesperson told AFP that“an initial investigation suggests that there is no indication that a strike was carried out by the IDF (the Israeli army, editor’s note) in the humanitarian zone of Al-Mawasi”. « The incident is under investigation »added the spokesperson.

Endangering the lives of civilians

“Firing so dangerously close to humanitarian structures, the location of which is known to parties involved in the conflict and which are clearly marked with the Red Cross emblem, endangers the lives of civilians and Red Cross personnel », castigated the humanitarian aid organization, in a press release broadcast on X (formerly Twitter). Without commenting on the origin of the strike, the ICRC added that “large caliber projectiles” had damaged his office.

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The organization insists that under international humanitarian law, parties to the conflict in the Palestinian enclave have an obligation to take “all possible precautions” to prevent loss of life among the civilian population, injury to civilians or damage to civilian objects, including humanitarian installations.

Witnesses, whose relatives died in one of the bombings, toldAssociated Press that Israeli forces fired a second salvo of missiles killing more people “who came out of their tents. »

Second deadly salvo of fire

“We were in our tent and they threw a stun grenade near the Red Cross tents, my husband came out at the first sound”said Mona Ashour, cited by Le Guardian. As reported in the British daily, this woman hugged a little girl in her arms in front of the Nasser hospital in Khan Younis, not far from there, when giving her testimony. “Then they struck with a second ammunition, which fell a little closer to the entrance to the Red Cross”she continued.

“Two tanks climbed to the top of a hill overlooking Mawasi and sent balls of fire that hit the tents of poor displaced people in the area”added a resident of the region, witness to the bombing, to the Reuters news agency by message.

Al-Mawasi camp had been designated as “safety zone” humanitarian aid by Israel and thousands of people took refuge there following the Israeli assault on the town of Rafah, in the south of the country.

This attack comes less than a month after an Israeli bombing sparked a deadly fire that ravaged a camp for displaced Palestinians. It comes against a backdrop of intensifying Israeli strikes on Gaza, in which at least 30 Palestinians were killed during the day on Friday according to doctors.

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