PLO Department of Statistical Quality Control & International Red Cross – 2006-08-15 04:03:31
The War in Gaza:
Israel Launched 190 Air Raids,
3,500 Artillery Shells on Gaza in 44 Days
PLO Department of Statistical Quality Control
(August 13, 2006) — Israel had carried out 190 airstrikes and fired 3,500 artillery shells on the Gaza Strip within the last 44 days, according to a Palestinian official report published on Saturday.
The report, issued by Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) department of Statistical Quality Control, detailed all Israeli army attacks on the Gaza Strip over the last 44 days.
“Israel carried out 768 different kinds of attacks on the Gaza Strip during the period between June 28 and August 10,” said the PLO report.
Israel launched an air and ground offensive on the Gaza Strip on June 28, three days after one Israeli soldier were abducted by Palestinian militant groups during a cross-border attack.
According to medics in Gaza hospitals, 200 Palestinians, including 40 children, were killed and 600 others were injured during the Israeli offensives dubbed “Summer Rains”.
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat warned of political and human disasters as a result of the ongoing military air and ground operations against the Gaza Strip.
Israel said that the operations were aimed to free the captive soldier Gilad Shalit and halt Palestinian militant groups’ rocket attacks against Israel.
Ongoing Heavy Civilian Toll in Lebanon ‘Unacceptable’
International Red Cross
(August 13, 2006) — The International Committee of the Red Cross slammed the ongoing heavy civilian casualties in the conflict in Lebanon as “unacceptable”.
“The ICRC has repeatedly expressed its concerns about insufficient precautions taken in attacks by the parties to the armed conflict,” the agency said in a statement Sunday.
“It is unacceptable that after more than 30 days of ongoing military operations, all necessary precautions to spare civilian life and those engaged in medical work have still not been taken,” it said.
The humanitarian agency highlighted an Israeli air strike Friday on hundreds of people fleeing the area of Marajayoun by car, in which six were killed and 32 were wounded.
A Lebanese Red Cross volunteer, Mikhael Jbayleh, was killed in the raid while trying to give first aid to a wounded person, it said.
Two other Lebanese Red Cross volunteers were injured when their ambulance was hit by “two projectiles” east of Tyre, although no fighting was taking place nearby, the statement said. The source of the projectiles was not identified.
“The ICRC deplores the heavy impact of hostilities on civilians and on Lebanese Red Cross emergency medical personnel and assets.”
It also deplored “the continuing lack of respect for the rules governing the conduct of hostilities, such as the distinction between military objectives and civilian persons and objects”, the statement added.
The Israeli military has banned the movement of all vehicles in the region south of the Litani river, including near Tyre, warning they will be considered to be supporting the Shiite Muslim militia Hezbollah and attacked.
Only Red Cross and UN vehicles are exempted, but they still need prior authorisation from the Israelis to travel.
In a newspaper interview Sunday, the head of the ICRC’s office in the embattled city of Tyre, Roland Huguenin, highlighted direct warnings to Israeli authorities.
“I tell and keep on repeating to Israeli authorities that they must respect the rights of victims,” he told the Swiss newspaper Le Matin, after being asked about an overall lack of distinction between civilian and military assets in the conflict.
Huguenin said the air strikes were also affecting attempts to rescue civilians buried under bombed buildings.
“The Israeli air force is shooting at all vehicles except those of the ICRC.
“As a result, when a building collapses, machines such as diggers cannot intervene to lift concrete blocks and save the people stuck in the ruins,” he explained.
Huguenin said he had been trying to help a woman and three children in a village 15 kilometres (10 miles) from Tyre who were sleeping in the cellar of their home when it was destroyed.
Although voices could be heard, rescuers could not bring in digging equipment to break through the ruins.
“I don’t see in what way the outcome of the conflict could be changed by allowing rescuers to get civilians out of the ruins,” he commented.
Alongside its role as a relief agency, the ICRC is the guardian of the Geneva Conventions, which guarantee protection for civilians and the wounded in conflicts.
Copyright © 2006 Agence France Presse