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December 10, 2023 Israel-Hamas war

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Internashonal

December 10, 2023 Israel-Hamas war


5:37 p.m. ET, December 10, 2023

Doctors without Borders accuses Israeli military of attacking marked evacuation convoy in Gaza    



The logo of Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) is seen in Mérignac, France, in 2018.

(Regis Duvignau/Reuters)

Doctors Without Borders, also known as Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), accused the Israeli military of attacking a marked evacuation convoy in Gaza on November 18. �

Two family members of MSF staff were killed; one was a volunteer nurse at Shifa Hospital, a news release from MSF from December 1 said.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) told CNN it recognizes the special protections given to medical teams under international humanitarian law, and “takes action to prevent harm to them.” The IDF also added that when it strikes military targets, it takes feasible precautions to mitigate civilian casualties.

MSF said its convoy that was “clearly identified as MSF vehicles” was attacked while returning to their offices in Gaza City after the Israeli military did not allow it to cross the last checkpoint near Wadi Gaza in order to get to the south of Gaza, as the IDF urged people there to do.

MSF said it initially informed both parties to the conflict that it was heading south and followed the itinerary indicated by the Israeli army to go along Salah Eddine street in five marked vehicles.

“We stayed there around three hours. It was getting dark. Hundreds of people were waiting and some of them decided to head back north because the checkpoint would not let them through,” an MSF staff member who was part of the convoy said in the statement.

After hearing shots fired, the convoy decided to return to its offices in Gaza City, according to the statement.�

“We contacted Paul [an MSF colleague in Jerusalem] to inform him that we would head back because we were not allowed to pass the checkpoint. He said he would ask for authorization for us to go back,” the MSF staff member said.

The convoy was allegedly attacked close to MSF’s office on its way back in the late afternoon, the statement said.

“I saw tanks and snipers at the top of the buildings. I was terrified when I saw that the snipers and the tanks were pointing their weapons at us, especially at the fourth and the fifth van [in the convoy],” said a second MSF staff member present with the convoy. “They started opening fire at us and when a bullet grazed my forehead, I got a superficial injury. The bullet hit my colleague Alaa in the head, he sat next to me.”�

Alaa died as a result of the attack, the staff member said.�

Separately on November 20, while sheltering at the MSF offices, staff said they saw five MSF vehicles and their clinic in Gaza City allegedly damaged by an Israeli bulldozer and a heavy military vehicle, which were all identifiable by the MSF logo, the release said.�

“Before they were destroyed, these MSF vehicles were potential evidence for any independent investigation into the November 18 attack on the MSF convoy,” the statement said.   �

After the five MSF vehicles were destroyed, MSF teams in the south of Gaza sent more vehicles to Gaza City to attempt an evacuation again, the release stated.

“However, they were also hit by bullets while approaching the MSF clinic, and the evacuation was canceled. On November 24, those vehicles were also destroyed by Israeli forces,” the release said.

“Eventually, our colleagues and their families were able to reach the south once the truce came into effect on the morning of November 24, thanks to the vehicles of other civilians evacuating,” the release said.

MSF has called for an independent investigation and a formal explanation for the attack from Israeli authorities, the release says.



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