Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS)
PRCS' Urgent Appeal for Protection of Medical Staff and Ambulances
The Israeli army shot and killed two ambulance medics today in Tulkarem (North West Bank). Mr. Kamal Salem works for UN and was shot in the back while responding to a call in a UN ambulance, the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) medic Mr. Ibrahim Assad (40 yrs, married with two children: 5-yr-old girl, and 2-yr-old boy) was killed in his ambulance and 3 other emergency medical technicians were injured with live ammunition. Mr. Assad has been with PRCS for the past 12 years.
The events that transpired during the evening of March 7 in Tulkarem:
1. At 6:30 pm three PRCS ambulances and one UN ambulance responded (from their station in central Tulkarem) to calls for assistance of injured personnel and obtaining necessary clearance through ICRC and Israeli army channels.
2. All ambulances had sirens and lights on.
3. Within minutes, the army shot and fired at two PRCS ambulances approximately 500 m next to their station killing one (Mr. Ibrahim Assad) and injuring 2 medics (Ms. Safiyah Balbisi, 24 yrs, Mr. Mahmoud Bahjawi, 32 yrs). Reports indicate that Mr. Assad was shot twice, one in the ambulance (in the hand), and once in the head as he exited the vehicle.
4. The UN ambulance came under gunfire and UN medic/nurse Mr. Kamal Salem was shot and killed in the passenger side of a UN ambulance.
5. A few minutes later, the army shot and hit Dr. Nabhan Jallad (51 yrs) in the leg inside the ambulance station.
PRCS calls for the intervention of all Red Cross/Crescent societies, humanitarian agencies and governments:
1. To provide international protection for medical teams through on the ground presence throughout the West Bank and Gaza
2. To demand the prosecution of Israeli army commanders and soldiers responsible for these atrocities as war criminals
On March 4, Dr. Khalil Sulieman, head of EMS station in Jenin, was killed by Israeli troops and an additional 5 medics injured, 3 with severe burns. The facts around the incident show that Dr. Khalil and his team were hit with a grenade launched by an Israeli soldier at their ambulance as it stopped in the Jenin refugee camp to evacuate a 9-year-old girl. Israeli troops fired at rescue and medical workers, thus preventing them from reaching the burning medics.
Today 3 PRCS medical staff have been killed, and 140 injured. PRCS remains committed to provide emergency medical care to all in need.
Source: press release March 7, 2002, www.palestinercs.org