Gaza: Doctors Without Borders condemns deliberate attack on a convoy transporting staff, resulting in one death and one injury
Bloody clothes and a marked page of homework are laid out over the area where an airstrike reportedly killed two children, two adults and severely injured around two dozen others in Jenin refugee camp. Palestine, 25 October 2023 © MSF/Faris Al-Jawad
This morning, at 9:00 am local time, a Doctors Without Borders convoy composed of five cars, all clearly marked with Doctors Without Borders identification, including on the cars’ roofs, left the Doctors Without Borders premises (guesthouse, office, outpatient clinic located near Al-Shifa hospital). The convoy had 137 people, composed of Doctors Without Borders Palestinian staff members and families, among them 65 children, and was heading southern Gaza for a safer place. Since 11 November, they have been trapped under fire because of ongoing fighting, and since then, Doctors Without Borders has repeatedly called to safely evacuate them.
On November 18, a Doctors Without Borders convoy composed of five cars--all clearly marked with Doctors Without Borders identification, including on the cars’ roofs--was attacked in Al-Wehda street near the junction of Said Al A’as Street, near the Doctors Without Borders office. Two of the Doctors Without Borders cars were deliberately hit, killing one Doctors Without Borders staff’s family member and injuring another.
Doctors Without Borders vehicles are always clearly marked with Doctors Without Borders identification, as seen in this photo from 2020. Palestinian Territories, 23 December, 2020 © MSF/Katharina Lange
Doctors Without Borders had informed both parties to the conflict of this movement. The convoy went through the itinerary indicated by the Israeli army and reached Salah Al Deen street, along with other civilians trying to leave the area.
The convoy reached the last checkpoint near Wadi Gaza, which was overcrowded at that time due to extensive screenings of Palestinians by Israeli forces. Despite the information shared with the Israeli army, they weren’t allowed to cross the checkpoint for hours. Shots were later heard by our staff, pushing them to turn back out of fear and to head back to Doctors Without Borders premises, located around 7 kms from the checkpoint.
Doctors Without Borders calls again to urgently allow the evacuation of our staff, as well as of thousands of other people, trapped by fighting and living in extremely dire conditions in northern Gaza.
We are calling for an immediate ceasefire, which is the only way for corridors to be implemented in order to safely evacuate trapped civilians.