Wed 28 Feb 2024 10:32 am - Jerusalem Time

UN accuses Israel of attacking a medical evacuation convoy despite prior coordination

Yesterday, Tuesday, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs announced the arrest of a medical evacuation convoy in the city of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip by the Israeli army, where it detained a paramedic and forced the others to take off their clothes.

The office explained that the incident occurred last Sunday while 24 patients were being evacuated from Al-Amal Hospital in the city. Despite the office’s assurances, an official statement has not yet been issued by the Israeli army, but it confirmed that the details received are being verified.

Relief agencies and Palestinian officials say that the hospital complex is under siege during the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip.

The occupation disrupts the World Health Organization convoy

In a statement to reporters in Geneva, office spokesman Jens Laerke said that Israeli forces disrupted a convoy led by the World Health Organization for several hours upon its departure from the hospital, despite prior coordination with the Israeli side regarding all employees and vehicles.

Laerke indicated that the army forced patients and employees to get out of the ambulances, searched all the paramedics, and forced them to take off their clothes.

He added that 3 paramedics cooperating with the Palestinian Red Crescent Society were later detained even though they had previously provided their personal information to the Israeli authorities.

He explained that one of the paramedics was later released, and demanded the release of the others and all the detained health workers, while Israel previously claimed that it was taking measures to reduce civilian casualties, and accused the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) of hiding among civilians in hospitals, which the movement denied. .

Laerke stressed that the incident that occurred on Sunday was not exceptional in light of the continuing shooting at aid convoys, the exposure of humanitarian workers to harassment, intimidation and detention, in addition to the damage to humanitarian infrastructure.

On the other hand, Israel previously denied allegations that it prevented the entry of aid. According to officials and statements from the United Nations, the flow of aid from Egypt to Gaza has diminished, and the distribution of food supplies that enters has become more difficult.

For his part, a senior United Nations relief official reported before the UN Security Council - yesterday, Tuesday - that at least 576,000 people in the Gaza Strip (representing a quarter of the population) are one step away from famine.

He stressed that widespread famine may become almost inevitable if measures are not taken to stop the aggression.

Severe malnutrition

In turn, Ramesh Rajasingham, Director of Coordination at the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said that nothing significant will be achieved in light of the continued aggression against the Gaza Strip, and called again on the international community for a ceasefire.

Rajasingham also noted that one in every 6 children under the age of two in northern Gaza suffers from acute malnutrition and wasting, and that the entire Strip's 2.2 million residents depend on "grossly insufficient" food aid to survive.

He stressed that the United Nations and relief organizations face "enormous obstacles" in even delivering minimal supplies to Gaza, including the closure of crossings, restrictions on movement and communications, cumbersome vetting procedures, disruptions, damaged roads, and unexploded ordnance.

As of Tuesday, the Israeli war on the Gaza Strip resulted in the death of 29,878 Palestinians and the injury of 70,215 others, most of them children and women. It also caused massive destruction of infrastructure, leaving an “unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe,” according to Palestinian and international reports.


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UN accuses Israel of attacking a medical evacuation convoy despite prior coordination