By Sardar Khan Niazi
An attack on an ambulance convoy in Gaza City has killed many people, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health. Israel confirmed that it hit an ambulance, but said that Hamas fighters had been the target, without providing evidence. A school hosting displaced civilians and people evacuating south was also hit by Israel.
A number of Palestinians were killed and many others injured in an Israeli bombing that targeted ambulances in front of the main gate of the Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. There were many casualties and injuries in an Israeli strike targeting an ambulance convoy that was heading south to reach the Rafah land crossing.
Israel’s military said it had launched an air strike on “an ambulance that was identified by forces as being used by a Hamas terrorist cell in close proximity to their position in the battle zone.”
An Israeli bombing also targeted ambulances in two other locations on Al-Rashid Coastal Street that were carrying wounded people to the south to reach the Rafah land crossing to transport them to Egypt.
Medical teams were leaving with a convoy of first aid carrying injured people to the southern regions of the Gaza Strip for treatment in Egypt.
The Israeli bombing caused extensive damage to ambulances transporting the injured. The Health Ministry announced earlier that the movement of a convoy of ambulances carrying a large number of wounded was heading towards the southern Gaza Strip.
The Israeli army has widened its air and ground attacks on the Gaza Strip, which has been under relentless airstrikes since the surprise offensive by Hamas on Oct. 7. More than 10,700 people have been killed in the conflict, including at least 9,227 Palestinians and more than 1,538 Israelis.
The head of the United Nations Antonio Guterres was horrified by a strike by Israeli forces on a convoy of ambulances in Gaza, adding that the conflict must stop.
“I am horrified by the reported attack in Gaza on an ambulance convoy outside Al Shifa hospital. The images of bodies strewn on the street outside the hospital are harrowing,” Antonio Guterres said in the statement.
The UN chief said that for nearly one month, civilians in Gaza, including children and women, have been besieged, denied aid, killed, and bombed out of their homes. “This must stop,” he continued.
The humanitarian situation in Gaza was horrific, he said. There was not nearly enough food, water, and medicine, while fuel to power hospitals and water plants was running out, he warned.
UN shelters in Gaza are at nearly four times their full capacity and are being hit by bombardments, Guterres said.
Morgues are overflowing. Shops are empty. The sanitation situation is abysmal. We are seeing an increase in diseases and respiratory illnesses, especially among children. An entire population is traumatized. Nowhere is safe,” he said.
Guterres called for a cease-fire, and for hostages to be freed. He called again for all sides to respect international humanitarian law and protect civilians. All those with influence must exert it to ensure respect for the rules of war, end the suffering, and avoid a spillover of the conflict that could engulf the whole region, he said.
Multiple bodies were seen lying beside the damaged ambulance outside the hospital, which is overcrowded with civilians seeking shelter from Israeli bombing as well as those wounded.
The Palestinian Red Crescent Society has said one of its ambulances was struck by a missile fired by the Israeli forces just feet from the entrance to the hospital in Gaza City, in an attack it says killed 15 people and wounded more than 60 others. International pressure is increasing and demands for a ceasefire have become louder.