Red Crescent responds to Israeli raid on Gaza

News and Press Release
Originally published
by Sébastien Carliez in Amman
Palestine Red Crescent Society ambulance teams were quick to assist victims of Saturday evening's large-scale assault on Gaza City by the Israeli army, in which 12 people were killed and 67 wounded.

Hospital sources said 12 of the wounded were critically hurt. About 20 of the injured were civilians.

"We dispatched six ambulances and a total of 16 doctors and paramedics to the scene, to help treat the wounded and evacuate the dead," said Dr. Fayez Jibril, director of PRCS emergency services in the Gaza Strip.

"Access to the victims was made very difficult by the army," he explained. "Despite co-ordination with the International Committee of the Red Cross, our teams had to operate mostly under risky conditions."

Working until 0430 on Sunday morning, the Red Crescent teams managed to bring at least 42 victims to the PRCS Al-Quds hospital and to several government medical facilities in Gaza City.

The PRCS said the parts of the El-Zeitoun neighborhood were extensively damaged in the attack.

"The army destroyed key elements of the main water and electric stations in the area, as well as a number of workshops, private houses and vehicles," said Jibril, who added on Monday afternoon that public services such as water supply and telephone had not yet returned back to normal.

It was the bloodiest attack in the Gaza Strip since August 2002, when 13 people were killed in an Israeli attack on the southern city of Khan Younis.

The fatalities brought to 2,899 the number of people killed since the outbreak of the Palestinian Intifada, or uprising, in September 2000, including 2,156 Palestinians.

The PRCS operates 40 ambulance vehicles out of six stations across the Gaza Strip. The National Society's emergency medical teams are composed of 77 staff backed by 35 trained volunteers.