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Gaza: ICRC deplores civilian deaths and casualties

08-11-2006 News Release 06/122

Geneva / Tel Aviv (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) deplores the large number of civilian deaths and casualties caused by an attack on Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip today and calls on Israel to respect its obligations under international humanitarian law.

" The ICRC is appalled that at least 18 persons, including seven children and seven women, lost their lives and at least 58 others were wounded, some of them very severely, as a result of Israeli military operations in Beit Hanoun in the early hours of 8 November, " said Dominik Stillhart, the ICRC head of delegation in Israel and the occupied territories. Repeated shelling by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) caught some of the victims unawares in their sleep. Two civilian buildings suffered direct hits.

The ICRC calls on the Israeli authorities to spare and protect civilians, and to take all feasible precautions when conducting military operations, in particular in densely inhabited areas. " Civilians must not pay the price of conflict; any civilian loss of life further fuels the conflict and generates more loss, suffering and grief, " Mr Stillhart said. In the last week alone, more than 75 persons have died as a result of IDF operations in Gaza.

International humanitarian law strictly prohibits attacks against civilians and civilian objects and requires that a strict distinction be made between the civilian population and military objectives.

 For further information, please contact:  

 Dorothea Krimitsas, ICRC Geneva, tel. +41 22 730 25 90 or +41 79 251 93 18  

 Caspar Landolt, ICRC Jerusalem, tel. +972 2 582 88 45 or +972 52 601 91 49  

 Bana Sayeh, ICRC Jerusalem, tel. +972 2 582 88 45 or +972 52 601 91 48  

 Sharon Yeheskel-Oron, ICRC Tel Aviv, tel. +972 3 524 52 86 or +972 54 636 87 22