OPT: ICRC deplores violence against civilians in Sderot and Gaza

ICRC Press Release No. 07/63

Geneva/ Jerusalem/ Tel-Aviv (ICRC) - The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is deeply concerned about the recent escalation of violence affecting the Gaza Strip and nearby Israeli towns. It calls on all parties to exercise restraint and to ensure that civilians not taking a direct part in the fightingare spared.

The ICRC is dismayed by the ongoing rocket attacks on the town of Sderotand neighbouring areas in Israel. It stresses once again that both indiscriminate attacks - i.e. those not directed against specific military objectives - and the deliberate targeting of civilians are serious violations of international law that cannot be justified in any circumstance.

Within the Gaza Strip civilians not involved in the fighting are paying a heavy price for the spiralling violence and lawlessness, said Anthony Dalziel, head of the ICRC's sub-delegation in Gaza. "Bystanders have been killed and injured, and local residents, particularly in GazaCity, are virtually prisoners in their houses, afraid to go about their daily routines."

The ICRC reminds all parties involved in the fighting of the need to ensure that the civilian population is spared and that medical facilities and services are available to all who require them, be they civilians or injured fighters. Ambulances and medical facilities are clearly protected under international law and must not be targeted or used for belligerent purposes.

The ICRC also reminds all parties that extra-judicial killings and the abduction of civilians are strictly prohibited under international law.

ICRC expatriate and national staff remain in Gazato provide what humanitarian assistance they can to the population in the present circumstances.

For further information, please contact:

Dorothea Krimitsas, ICRC Geneva, tel. +41 22 730 25 90 or +41 79 251 93 18
Bernard Barrett, ICRC Jerusalem, tel. +972 2 582 88 45 or +972 52 601 91 50
Bana Sayeh, ICRC Jerusalem, tel. +972 2 582 88 45 or +972 52 601 91 48
Iyad Nasr, ICRC Gaza, tel. +972 8 282 2644 +972 59 960 30 15
Yael Segev-Eytan, ICRC Tel Aviv, tel. +972 3 524 52 86 or +972 52 275 75 17
or visit our website: www.icrc.org