Even as the Gaza conflict entered the 14th day on Tuesday and the humanitarian crisis there worsened, the ICRC condemned the shelling of the Al Aqsa hospital in Deir El Balah, Gaza, which killed at least four people and injured many others.

The hospital came under direct fire at least four times on Monday. The surgical ward, the intensive care unit and pieces of life-saving equipment were severely damaged, disrupting essential medical services. The attacks came at a time when many people remain affected by the hostilities and there are hundreds of sick and wounded in need of medical care.

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

News release: ICRC condemns the shelling of Gaza’s Al Aqsa Hospital 

Since the ground offensive in Gaza began on Friday last, the humanitarian situation has intensified for the hundreds of thousands of people living in this highly populated area. ICRC head of operations for the Middle East Robert Mardini describes the plight of civilians who live in constant fear, struggling for the basics of shelter, clean water, food and health care.

Interview: Civilians pay the highest price in Gaza

On Tuesday morning, Cecilia Goin, our spokesperson in Gaza, spoke to Australian radio show RN Breakfast about the humanitarian impact of the ongoing hostilities in Gaza. Click here to listen in.

Earlier, on 20 July, Sunday, the ICRC had used its services as a neutral intermediary to facilitate an agreement between the Israel Defense Force and Hamas to allow for the immediate evacuation of the sick and injured people in Gaza city. Under the agreement, ambulances were allowed to move into Shuja’iyya district of Gaza and evacuate civilians to the west of the Gaza strip if they so wished.

“The Israel Defense Force has agreed to suspend hostilities in Shuja’iyya neighbourhood for two hours today,” Jacques de Maio, head of the ICRC’s delegation in Israel and the occupied territories, had said on Sunday. “This will enable sick and injured people to receive the medical care they need. It will also give civilians a brief respite from the fighting.”

News release: Gaza: ICRC facilitates suspension of hostilities to evacuate wounded

ICRC New Delhi