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Israeli army fires on 6 Palestinian Red Crescent ambulances escorted by UN vehicles

December 10, 2023 at 1:09 pm

A Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance passes through the area where the Israeli military struck in the occupied West Bank on 18 November 2023 (Photo by Nasser Ishtayeh/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images]

The Israeli army opened fire on six ambulances of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, escorted by UN vehicles, carrying 11 patients with critical injuries, including amputations and head wounds, in Gaza, the Red Crescent said on Sunday, adding that one of the injured died before receiving any treatment, Anadolu Agency reports.

“The Palestine Red Crescent Society coordinated with the United Nations to evacuate 11 casualties in critical condition last night from Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza City to the hospital in the south of the Strip,” the Red Crescent said in a statement on X.

A convoy of six Red Crescent ambulances, accompanied by UN vehicles, set off from Khan Younis after waiting about four hours for the first green light to move towards the military checkpoint that separates the north from south in the Gaza Strip, it added.

“The convoy then waited a full hour to get a second green light to cross the checkpoint,” the Red Crescent explained, noting that “It was then subjected to a thorough inspection that lasted for about two hours, during which two paramedics were detained and released as soon as the convoy was allowed to pass.”

As soon as the convoy left the checkpoint and arrived near the Kuwait Roundabout, the statement said, “The occupation soldiers opened fire on one of the ambulances.”

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One of the side windows was hit, and the bullet damaged the ambulance, the Red Crescent said.

“After the convoy returned from the Baptist Hospital and upon reaching the checkpoint on the way back, the convoy’s path was deliberately obstructed and paramedic Rami Al-Qatawi was detained again,” it said.

The Red Crescent said the Israeli military repeated its thorough inspection procedures, obstructing the convoy’s passage, and “interrogation at the checkpoint for more than two hours led to the martyrdom of one of the wounded.”

“After a detention that lasted for more than four hours during which he was subjected to beatings, abuse, and blackmail while being interrogated, paramedic Rami Al-Qatawi was released,” according to the statement.

He arrived at the other side of the checkpoint in a deplorable state after being forced to walk more than 2 kilometers (1.25 miles) on a rough road in cold weather while “naked and handcuffed,” the Red Crescent said.

Israel resumed its military offensive on the Gaza Strip on Dec. 1 after the end of a week-long humanitarian pause with Hamas.

At least 17,700 Palestinians have been killed and more than 48,780 others injured in relentless air and ground attacks on the enclave since Oct. 7 following the cross-border attack by Hamas.

The Israeli death toll in the Hamas attack stood at 1,200, according to official figures.

READ: Israeli attack kills 10 civilians in southern Gaza