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Gaza: MSF condemns deliberate deadly attack on convoy of staff and family members

We reiterate our call for an immediate ceasefire.

White flag of Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) against the sky

© Dalila Mahdawi/MSF

UPDATE 12/1/23: After collecting the testimonies of MSF staff who were present in the Nov. 18 convoy attack, all elements point to the responsibility of the Israeli army. MSF has also collected testimonies regarding the destruction of five MSF vehicles and severe damage caused to our clinic in Gaza City on November 20, and the destruction of an MSF minibus on November 24. Read more.

November 18, 2023—One person was killed and one was injured in an attack today on a convoy of Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) staff members and their families who had been attempting to evacuate from northern Gaza.

The person who was killed was a relative of an MSF staff member. MSF condemns in the strongest terms this deliberate attack. 

The convoy was made up of 137 people—Palestinian MSF staff members and their families, including 65 children. Since November 11, they have been trapped in MSF's guesthouse, office and outpatient clinic near Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza, because of ongoing fighting, and we have repeatedly called for their safe evacuation

This morning, they departed at 9:00 a.m. local time with five vehicles, all clearly marked with MSF identification, including on the roofs. 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 screenings of Palestinians by Israeli forces. Despite the information shared with the Israeli army, they were not allowed to cross the checkpoint for hours. Shots were later heard by our staff, pushing them to turn back out of fear to return to MSF's premises, located around seven kilometers [about four miles] from the checkpoint.

On their way back, between 3:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. 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 vehicles were deliberately hit, killing one MSF staff’s family member 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 to safely evacuate trapped civilians.

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