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Red Cross in Geneva: extent of death and destruction in Gaza points to war crimes

Launching a new funding appeal for the Gaza Strip, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Geneva has declared that the “civilian casualty toll” and “extent of destruction” indicates that “violations of international humanitarian law” took place during Israel’s assault.

The ICRC described the impact of an attack whose scale it described as unparalleled in “recent years”.

Tens of thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes in utter destitution, and thousands of houses and other structures have been entirely or partially destroyed. The water network and electrical installations have been severely damaged. The medical sector has been stretched to its limits and hospitals have been hit by shelling or other munitions. Businesses have closed, leaving countless families without any breadwinning activity. Some 40 per cent of agricultural lands have been rendered fallow and crops destroyed. Around 60 per cent of the people in Gaza under 18 years of age are severely traumatized, while the risks posed by unexploded and abandoned ordnance are life-threatening.

ICRC head of operations for the Near and Middle East Robert Mardini pointed out that “the current humanitarian situation has to be viewed in the wider context of ongoing occupation, eight years of closure and heavy restrictions on the movement of goods and people, three conflicts occurring within just six years, and an already fragile infrastructure”. He added: “It is high time that a suitable solution was found, as civilians are in distress, and any real recovery has to be sustained over time.”

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