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Medical Rights Being Violated in Gaza Strip

[For immediate release- 13:15, 18 May 2004]

Medical Rights Being Violated in Gaza Strip

Since the early morning Physicians for Human Rights-Israel has received complaints concerning obstruction of medical teams from aiding the wounded in Rafah Refugee Camp.

The road from Rafah to Khan Younis has been closed by the Israeli army. Therefore, as of now, 12wounded persons cannot be evacuated to the European Hospital- an advanced medical center. This leaves Yousef Al Najar Hospital - which does not have an intensive care unit and is lacking needed equipment - to deal alone with all the people and the enormous load.

Two ambulances were stuck in Tel Sultan neighborhood from the early morning, since the Israeli army did not allow them to reach 8 wounded and 3 dead people; it also did not allow them to return to the hospital. Only at about 13:00 were they released and were allowed to begin to search for the dead and wounded. As of now, the wounded have yet to be evacuated. Physicians for Human Rights-Israel is also investigating complaints that two ambulances were fired upon by the Israeli army in the same area.

Two ambulances that were in Khan Younis in the early morning are stuck at the checkpoint unable to return to the hospital.

Physicians for Human Rights-Israel turned to the media, Members of Knesset, and is considering taking legal action in order to stop the attack and allow for normal medical activity. Physicians for Human Rights-Israel condemns any attack on medical vehicles, institutions or staff, and calls on all sides to respect all relevant International Humanitarian Law.

Physicians for continues to be in contact with medical and human rights organizations in the Gaza Strip and is constantly receiving updates and additional information.

For more details please contact:

Hadas Ziv, Director: Occupied Territories Project- +972-54-6623232 Shabtai Gold, Public Outreach- +972-54-4860630


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