Israeli strike hits Gaza Ambulance; civilian toll mounts

The ambulance attack comes amid relentless Israeli bombardment of Jabalia that has forced tens of thousands of civilians to flee the area since heavy fighting erupted over the weekend.

An Israeli military strike hit an ambulance in the northern Gaza town of Jabalia on Wednesday, injuring at least two Palestinian paramedics, according to reports from colleagues on the ground.

The ambulance attack comes amid relentless Israeli bombardment of Jabalia that has forced tens of thousands of civilians to flee the area since heavy fighting erupted over the weekend. Airstrikes and artillery barrages have turned the densely populated town into a battleground.

Video shared on social media showed the struck ambulance with its side blown open, windshield shattered and heavy damage. Two paramedics from Jabalia’s al-Awda Hospital were wounded, though the extent of their injuries was not immediately known.

The International Committee of the Red Cross condemned the ambulance strike as a serious violation of international humanitarian law, which demands protection for medical personnel and facilities during conflicts.

Israeli officials had no immediate comment on the ambulance incident. In past Gaza campaigns, the Israeli military has claimed that Palestinian militant groups deliberately operate in civilian areas and use infrastructure like ambulances for military purposes.

Wednesday’s ambulance strike marked another data point in what Palestinian officials have described as a catastrophic humanitarian crisis unfolding in Gaza’s north amid some of the most intense bombardment since the 2014 war.

According to Gaza’s health ministry, over 500 Palestinian health workers have now been killed since the start of the latest conflict, including a nurse gunned down by Israeli fire in Jabalia just the day before. Hospitals have repeatedly been struck as well.

Any perceived attacks on medical facilities and transport are considered war crimes under the Geneva Conventions. However, Israel has rarely faced significant consequences in the past for similar strikes, which are routinely blamed on errant fire or Hamas militants operating nearby.

With neither side showing any willingness to de-escalate, humanitarian groups have sounded alarms about dwindling supplies and the increasing inability to evacuate wounded civilians as the fighting rages on.

The Israeli military says its operations in Gaza’s urban areas are aimed at rooting out Palestinian militants who have launched thousands of rockets towards Israeli communities during this latest flare-up of cross-border fire.

However local and international human rights monitors have accused the Israeli Defence Forces of failing to take sufficient precautions to protect Palestinian civilians under its occupation, with entire families being killed in some strikes.

With diplomatic efforts to broker a ceasefire at a standstill, there are few signs of reprieve for Gaza’s trapped and increasingly traumatized population as the toll on both sides continues rising.