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Gaza Update: Target Medics?

Multiple sources are reporting that medics and ambulances have come under repeated attack in Gaza by Israeli forces. Aid workers are also reporting that even when Red Crescent ambulance teams contact the Red Cross and the Red Cross contacts the IDF to coordinate the ambulance mission, they are often prevented from reaching the injured.

Amira Hass in Ha’aretz told of one such case yesterday in “Wounded Gaza family lay bleeding for 20 hours." Oxfam reported the death of one of their medics on Saturday. Now Ma’an reports:

Midmorning on Sunday, Israeli warplanes bombed a house in the town of Beit Hanoun, where Palestinians were mourning the death of a paramedic who was killed on Saturday. Some 40 others were wounded in this most recent attack.

Rammatan (the source of CNN’s footage from Gaza) adds:

Four Palestinian medical emergency members were murdered on Sunday night when an Israeli rocket hit their ambulance in the town of Beit Lahia, north of Gaza.

The death toll of the paramedics killed by the Israeli troops has climbed to 6 and more than 20 wounded.

Eva Bartlett of ISM who is traveling with the ambulances writes:

I’m told that areas further south have been invaded, shelled, occupied. Like Zahara, and Juhadik in central Gaza. Press TV reporter Yusuf al Helo told me this morning that the reason he hadn’t answered my phone calls last night (he is one of the better sources for up-to-date news) was because his uncle, in the extended Zaytoun area, just off the main Salah el Din street, was killed when Israeli forces shelled their house. “My cousins were in the house too,” he told me, as were many more injured. Over 15 hours after the assault, Yusuf updates me: “until now they still haven’t been able to take the injured and dead out of my uncle’s house.”

A second ISM volunteer, Alberto Arce, has more in this youtube interview (the sound is a bit rough for the first few seconds but then is fine.)

Meanwhile, McClatchy reports:

JERUSALEM — French President Nicolas Sarkozy and a European delegation Monday pleaded for Israel to call a temporary halt to its 10-day-old offensive in Gaza, but top Israeli leaders, with the explicit backing of President George W. Bush, made it clear that they aren’t ready to end the fighting.

Adding to the public pressure for a halt in the campaign was the rapidly rising death toll, which Palestinian medical officials put at 550, including 111 children. The numbers couldn’t be verified, because Israel has barred international news media from Gaza since the operation began, but televised images of wounded civilians, and especially children, have caused outrage in Europe and the Arab world.

If the Israeli government would like to contest these reports, they could allow foreign journalists into Gaza to provide an independent view.

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Siun is a proud Old Town resident who shares her home with two cats and a Great Pyrenees. She’s worked in media relations and on the net since before the www, led the development of a corporate responsibility news service, and knows what a mult box is thanks to Nico. When not swimming in the Lake, she leads a team working on sustainability tools.

Email: media dot firedoglake at gmail dot com