Israel Accused of 'War Crime' After Bombing Ambulance Convoy Outside Gaza Hospital
A Palestinian Health Ministry spokesperson called the attack "a massacre against more victims, civilians, and wounded people."
Scene from the aftermath of the attack -- image from a PRCS post on X
By Jessica Corbett, Common Dreams
Graphic and horrific footage of dead and wounded Palestinians circulated online Friday as Israeli forces took credit for what critics are condemning as yet another a war crime—bombing an ambulance convoy near Gaza's al-Shifa Hospital that was taking patients to the Rafah border crossing with Egypt.
Tens of thousands of displaced civilians have gathered in and around the hospital since Israel launched what global experts are calling a "genocidal" war on Gaza—enabled by billions of dollars in U.S. support—in retaliation for an October 7 Hamas-led attack.
Al Jazeera reported that the Palestinian Health Ministry said "several citizens were killed and dozens wounded" in the Friday strike.
"We informed the Red Cross and the Red Crescent, we informed the whole world, that those victims were lined up in those ambulances," said Ashraf al-Qudra, a spokesperson for the health ministry. "This was a medical convoy."
The Israel Defense Forces said on social media: "A Hamas terrorist cell was identified using an ambulance. In response, an IDF aircraft struck and neutralized the Hamas terrorists, who were operating within the ambulance. We emphasize that this area in Gaza is a war zone. Civilians are repeatedly called upon to evacuate southward for their own safety."
The IDF has previously claimed Hamas' main base of operations is under the Gaza City hospital, the largest in the besieged strip.
"Can there be a stronger invitation to the International Criminal Court to charge them with war crimes?" Greek economist Yanis Varoufakis said in response to the IDF admission Friday. "Even if the ambulance was carrying a Hamas overlord, bombing it violates the Geneva Convention."
"Future generations will censure us for letting this happen," he added, pointing to the rising death toll. "There is not even enough water to wash the wounds of survivors, let alone food, drugs etc. How can anyone sleep at night?"
According to Al Jazeera:
In the news conference outside al-Shifa Hospital, al-Qudra again called the attack "a massacre against more victims, civilians, and wounded people." "The international community should stop those massacres that are committed against our people and our paramedics and our injured and our victims," the health ministry spokesperson said. "We call on everyone to help us create a humanitarian corridor to ensure the transportation of victims and patients and to allow humanitarian aid to be funneled to the Gaza Strip."
Mohamed Abu Musbah, a spokesperson for the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) told the outlet that the area was "extremely crowded" with civilians.
Sharing footage of an ambulance that was hit, PRCS said on social media that "our colleagues were saved by miracle."
The ambulance bombing adds to the mounting claims of war crimes against Israel. Other recent alleged Israeli war crimes include impeding humanitarian aid to Gaza, using white phosphorus in crowded civilian areas, and repeatedly bombing a refugee camp.
Citing the Palestinian Health Ministry, Middle East Eye reported Friday that Israeli aircraft also dropped bombs around Indonesian Hospital and al-Quds Hospital—which is also hosting thousands of refugees.
Throughout the war, as healthcare facilities have been hit by Israeli airstrikes and run low on or out of medicine and fuel, doctors in Gaza and United Nations officials have repeatedly warned that the medical system in the besieged enclave is on the verge of total collapse.
Advocates of a cease-fire have taken to the streets and public spaces such as train stations in the United States and around the world over the past few weeks, expressing outrage over Gaza's growing death toll—now above 9,200—and highlighting fears of a wider regional war.
Jessica Corbett is a senior editor and staff writer for Common Dreams.
This work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.