Israeli Airstrike in Gaza Destroys Medical Relief Head Office, Kills Baby
Ramallah, 28/02/2008. An Israeli airstrike aimed at the ministry of interior building in Gaza City also destroyed the nearby Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS) head office in Gaza and killed a 5-month-old baby in a residential building in the same area.
The PMRS head office was housing the main PMRS clinic in the Gaza Strip, the main pharmacy, an ambulance, a loan centre for handicapped people and all the administrative offices. The ambulance, all the medicine and most of the equipment have been destroyed. The building itself is badly damaged and cannot be used again without extensive repairs.
The attack also hit a nearby residential building, killing Mohamad Nasser Al-Borey, 5 months, in his family home.
Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi MP, president of PMRS, declared "the collective punishment of Palestinians in Gaza has reached unbearable levels. This latest attack destroyed a key part of the already badly hit Gazan health system. Israel has lost all sense of humanity, and the silence of the international community enables its murderous escalation against a people imprisoned in a giant jail. These relentless violations of international law must be put to an end. It is a war crime under the Geneva Convention to target medical personnel. Regional organisations and individual States have to take actions to protect the Palestinian people from Israel. This must stop, now".
Dr. Abdel Hadi Abu Khussa, director of PMRS in the Gaza Strip, declared that "the destruction of the main clinic, pharmacy, office and one ambulance are a terrible blow to PMRS activities and will increase the suffering of the people of Gaza. We are victims of Israeli collective punishment".
Background: PMRS‘ Work in the Gaza Strip
PMRS is one of the largest non-governmental health service providers in Palestine, reaching 1.4 million Palestinians in over 490 cities, towns and villages in 2007. This was achieved through the extensive physical and human network built in Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in the 29 years since PMRS was established.
In Gaza, PMRS maintains four primary healthcare centres, two ambulances and two mobile clinics as well as an effective program to help people with disabilities, especially children. PMRS also runs an Individual Relief program for patients in need and a centre providing physiotherapy and assistive equipment to the disabled.
In response to the complete Israeli blockade of Gaza since January 2008, PMRS had declared a status of emergency and was stepping up its emergency program to support the needs of the people of Gaza.