Lebanese Red Cross Repeatedly Targeted

“The night of July 23 we were called to rescue a family whose home was bombed,” Kassem Shaulan, a 28-year-old medic with the Lebanese Red Cross in Tyre told IPS. “Just as I finished loading the three injured people in my ambulance, it was struck by a rocket and all of us were injured.”

The ambulance, now parked outside of the Red Cross headquarters in this coastal city, had a hole through the centre of the red cross painted on its roof. The inside was heavily damaged and pieces of the metal frame of the van hung limply, riddled with shrapnel holes.

“You can see here that everyone the Israelis are attacking are civilians and the Red Cross,” Shaulan said. “And now we are having trouble reaching villages to collect bodies because they’ve bombed most of the roads and bridges before they told people to leave their homes.”

Mohammad Zatar, who has been working for the Lebanese Red Cross in Tyre since 1993, said he had never before seen attacks on rescue workers.

“As a Red Cross volunteer I need to be very clear that we are not political — we rescue anyone who needs help,” the 32-year-old Zatar told IPS. As a colleague unloaded bodies from bloody stretchers, Zatar said “whether they are civilian, a resistance fighter or an Israeli soldier, our policy is to help any human who needs help. But the Israelis seem to be attacking us now.”

Zatar said that most of the bodies they were picking up were of women and children. “Sometimes we pick younger or middle-aged men, but that is uncommon.”

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