The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) condemns in the strongest terms the shelling today of the Al Aqsa hospital in Deir El Balah, Gaza, which killed at least four people and injured scores of others.

The hospital came under direct fire at least four times. The surgical ward, the intensive care unit and pieces of life-saving equipment were all severely damaged, disrupting essential medical services. An ICRC team visited the location and evaluated the damage, human and material, in order to bring immediate help and support.

“This incident is yet another illustration of the dangers faced by health care personnel, patients, ambulances and hospitals, in the current conflict in Gaza,” said Christian Cardon, the head of the ICRC’s sub-delegation in Gaza. “Even in the midst of warfare, people must be able to receive medical care in safety.”

The ICRC reminds all parties of their obligation to respect and to protect medical personnel, ambulances and facilities, as provided for under international humanitarian law. The parties to the conflict must ensure that medical personnel are not endangered or harmed, and hospitals and ambulances not attacked, damaged or misused.