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ICRC hit in Gaza, “heaps of corpses, blood everywhere”

Photo: Bashar Taleb Agence France-Presse On Friday, “large caliber” shots near the office of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Al-Mawasi, near Rafah, caused “a massive influx of victims towards the Red Cross field hospital” .

Agnès Pedrero – Agence France-Presse in Geneva

Posted at 2:08 p.m.

  • Middle East

First there were “several large explosions” near the office of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Gaza. Then a flood of wounded, “heaps of corpses” and “pools of blood,” said an organization official on Saturday.

Friday, shooting “ large caliber” near the ICRC office in Al-Mawasi, near Rafah, caused “a massive influx of victims to the Red Cross field hospital”, which “received 22 dead and 45 injured” , according to the ICRC, without specifying the origin of the shots.

It all started around 3:30 p.m. local time (8:30 a.m. in Quebec) with “three big explosions”, the head of the ICRC in Rafah, William Schomburg, explained to journalists via video link.

This is not the first time that the organization's installations, whose headquarters are in Geneva, have been damaged since the start of the war in Gaza.

But “the scale of this shock was completely unprecedented, at least for us,” emphasized Mr. Schomburg: “we literally found body parts scattered in different areas, including within the compound ( of the ICRC), which we then recovered.”

“In a few moments, we saw a stream of wounded present themselves at the door of our compound. There were piles of bodies, blood everywhere,” he said.

“Honestly, it’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. The extent of the suffering in such a short time was truly shocking to the team. We tried with all our might to stabilize some of the victims,” he said.

Ambulances transported the injured to the Red Cross field hospital, located “500 meters from our office”, but some of them died there.

“An immense feeling of fear”

Around the ICRC, “in the street, there were pools of blood, there were “There were bodies scattered on the ground, and an overwhelming feeling of fear among people who were clearly panicked and very desperate, with nowhere to go,” Schomburg described.

It was “a very hard day for the team, for the victims, for the families”.

The ICRC has, next to the affected building by “projectiles”, from a large camp in which many families of ICRC staff live in tents. Mr. Schomburg called it “a miracle” that none of his team and their families were seriously injured.

The coastal area of ​​Al-Mawasi, near Rafah, is home to displaced people driven out by fighting in the rest of the Palestinian territory. It had been declared a “humanitarian zone” by Israel, in theory safe for the displaced.

According to Mr. Schomburg, ICRC installations are not located in this “zone humanitarian” but just south of that perimeter, in a “block adjacent to it.”

However, he said, the locations and coordinates of all the organization's facilities are known to all parties to the conflict and all premises are marked with the famous emblem of the Red Cross.

“So how do you explain the strikes that we experienced yesterday ? I think that this question should be asked of the parties in conflict and not of us”, he concluded, emphasizing: “I am a humanitarian, I am not a military specialist”.

The October 7 Hamas attack resulted in the deaths of 1,194 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official data. Of the 251 people kidnapped that day, 116 are still being held in Gaza, 41 of whom have died according to the army.

The Israeli offensive that followed in the Strip Gaza has seen 37,551 deaths so far, mostly civilians, according to data from the Gaza government's Ministry of Health.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116