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Oman condemns Israeli strikes on ambulance in Gaza


An Israeli air strike on an ambulance being used to evacuate the wounded from besieged northern Gaza killed 15 people and injured 60 others on Friday, the health ministry said.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed the Sultanate of Oman’s strong condemnation of the Israeli occupation forces’ targeting of Al-Shifa, Al-Quds, and other hospitals and ambulance convoys in the Gaza Strip, which led to the deaths of hundreds of civilians, including martyrs and wounded.

This represents a continuation of war crimes and genocide and a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law and all humanitarian norms and international conventions, the statement said.

It expressed its sincere condolences and sympathy to the families of the victims affirmed its solidarity with the Palestinian people in achieving all their legitimate rights and their steadfastness in the face of occupation, and called on the international community to take deterrent measures against Israel to stop its ongoing and heinous attacks against the Palestinian people.

And effective action to uphold the authority of international law and end the aggression and illegal occupation of the Palestinian territories.

Ashraf al-Qidra, spokesperson for Gaza's health ministry, said the ambulance was part of a convoy that Israel targeted near Gaza City's al-Shifa Hospital.

Qidra said Israel had targeted the convoy of ambulances in more than one location, including at the al-Shifa Hospital gate and at Ansar Square a kilometer (0.6 miles) away.

A video shared on social media, which Reuters has verified, showed people lying in blood next to an ambulance with flashing lights on a city street as people rushed to help.

Another video showed three ambulances standing in a line, with about a dozen people lying either motionless or barely moving next to them. Blood was pooled nearby.

World Health Organisation Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a social media post he was "utterly shocked by reports of attacks on ambulances evacuating patients", adding that patients, health workers, and medical facilities must be protected. Earlier on Friday, Qidra said ambulances would send critically injured Palestinians who urgently need to be taken to Egypt to be treated from besieged Gaza City to the south of the enclave.

Israel ordered all civilians to leave the north of Gaza last month and its military encircled the area on Thursday.

Despite its order for civilians to leave northern areas of Gaza, Israel's military has continued to bombard the south of the strip as well. The head of the United Nations was "horrified" by a strike by Israeli forces on a convoy of ambulances in Gaza on Friday, he said in a statement, adding that the conflict "must stop."

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society has said one of its ambulances was struck "by a missile fired by the Israeli forces" just feet from the entrance to the hospital in Gaza City, in an attack it says killed 15 people and wounded more than 60 others. "I am horrified by the reported attack in Gaza on an ambulance convoy outside Al Shifa hospital.

The images of bodies strewn on the street outside the hospital are harrowing," Antonio Guterres said in the statement. An AFP journalist at the scene of Friday's attack saw multiple bodies beside the damaged ambulance outside the hospital, which is overcrowded with civilians seeking shelter from Israeli bombing as well as those wounded.

There is "not nearly enough" food, water and medicine, while fuel to power hospitals and water plants was running out, he warned. UN shelters in Gaza "are at nearly four times their full capacity and are being hit in bombardments," Guterres continued.

"Morgues are overflowing. Shops are empty. The sanitation situation is abysmal. We are seeing an increase in diseases and respiratory illnesses, especially among children. An entire population is traumatized. Nowhere is safe," he said.

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society has condemned the targeting of a convoy of ambulances in Gaza by Israeli forces on Friday, which it says killed 15 people and wounded more than 60 others.

The PRCS said in a statement early Saturday that one of its ambulances was struck "by a missile fired by the Israeli forces", about two metres from the entrance to the Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City. The attack resulted in the deaths of 15 civilians and wounded 60 other people, it said, mirroring figures released earlier by the Hamas-run health ministry. Another ambulance, belonging to the health ministry, was "directly targeted" by a missile around one kilometre from the hospital, causing injuries and damage, the PRCS said. Deliberately targeting medical teams constituted "a grave violation of the Geneva Conventions, a war crime", added the organisation, part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

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