Paris - One person was killed and another injured in an attack earlier today on a Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) convoy trying to evacuate MSF Palestinian staff members and their families from Gaza, Palestine. They were trapped for a week in MSF premises located near Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza. MSF condemns this deliberate attack in the strongest terms.
The MSF convoy of five cars, all clearly marked with MSF identification, including on the cars’ roofs, was composed of 137 people, including 65 children. This morning, at 9:00 am local time, the convoy left the MSF premises (guest house, office, and outpatient clinic) heading to southern Gaza for a safer place. Since 11 November, they have been trapped under fire because of ongoing fighting and since then, MSF has repeatedly called to safely evacuate them.
MSF had informed both parties to the conflict of this movement. The convoy went through the itinerary indicated by the Israeli army and reached Salah Al-Deen street, along with other civilians trying to leave the area.
The convoy reached the last checkpoint near Wadi Gaza, which was overcrowded at that time due to extensive screening of Palestinians by Israeli forces. Despite the information shared with the Israeli army, the convoy wasn’t allowed to cross the checkpoint for hours. Shots were later heard by our staff, pushing them to turn back out of fear and to return to MSF premises, located around 7 kilometres from the checkpoint.
On their way back, between 3:30 pm and 4:00 pm local time, the convoy was attacked in Al-Wehda street near the junction of Said Al-A’as Street, near the MSF office. Two of the MSF cars were deliberately hit, killing a family member of one MSF staff and injuring another.
MSF calls again to urgently allow the evacuation of our staff, as well as of thousands of other people, trapped by fighting and living in extremely dire conditions in northern Gaza.
We are calling for an immediate ceasefire, which is the only way for corridors to be implemented in order to safely evacuate trapped civilians.