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Updates/Press Releases: Occupied Territories, An Update on Rafah 19/05/2004 , (afternoon)

19-05-2004 00:00

Physicians for Human Rights-Israel continues to protest the recent events in the Rafah region, in the South Gaza Strip.

According to sources and the media, the Israel army fired missiles from the air and tank fire at a Palestinian demonstration in that region.
At least 9 people were killed, and at least 5 of them were children.
Some 41 people were injured- about 24 of them children; some 12-15 are in critical condition.
Four other people were killed in Tel Sultan today.
The Israeli army did not immediately allow ambulances to reach Rafah from Khan Younis.
The hospital in Rafah is unable to treat the types of injuries the wounded are suffering from, and they need to be treated in the more advanced hospitals in Khan Younis.
Physicians for Human Rights-Israel attempted to coordinate their passage so that they could evacuate the wounded.
Shortly after Physicians for Human Rights-Israel sent a press release earlier today reporting on the situation, the 12 ambulances were allowed to enter Rafah.
Six intensive care ambulances were allowed to travel back to Khan Younis, after having been delayed for a significant amount of time.
They were, however, forced to take sand/dirt roads and not the regular road.
Sources are relating that not all the ambulances were able to return to Khan Younis.
Also, sources are reporting that about four people were injured in Tel Sultan late this morning and that medical services are unable to evacuate them.
Since the start of the invasion of the Southern Gaza Strip Physicians for Human Rights-Israel has been coordinating and reporting on ambulances being detained and blocked and not being able to reach patients, injured and dead- Physicians for Human Rights-Israel has received numerous cases of ambulances and medical staff being denied freedom of movement.
Also, yesterday ambulances were fired upon.
According to claims received this morning by Physicians for Human Rights-Israel two women in labor and a patient who needs dialysis treatment are unable to leave their homes in the Tel Sultan area.
Currently, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel is trying to arrange for them to be able to reach the needed medical centers.
There are also other patients in need of treatment but are unable to receive it.
Physicians for Human Rights-Israel strongly condemns these grave violations of International Law and calls on the Israeli army to immediately cease firing upon ambulances and civilians and to stop interfering the with evacuation of the wounded.
Freedom of movement for medical staff is essential in order to treat the patients and the wounded.
The Israeli army must respect all relevant International Law.
As long as the Israeli army continues to control and occupy the region it must care for the medical and humanitarian needs of the population.
Physicians for Human Rights-Israel is receiving constant updates from the field.
For more and most current information: Shabtai Gold, Public Outreach- +972-54-4860630
Hadas Ziv, Director: Occupied Territories Project, +972-54-6623232