The Khuzaâ€™a area of east Khan Younis was cut off from the rest of the city for hours on Wednesday night, with medics unable to enter, journalists forced out and Israeli military forces engaged in a ground and air assault that has been ongoing, and has now sparked fears of a massacre similar to the one on Sunday, in Shujaâ€™eyya, in which more than 75 people were killed.Early Thursday, Israeli forces agreed to let up the assault for an hour to allow medics to retrieve the bodies of the dead and wounded
Doctor Yusef Abu Al-Rish, the Deputy Health Minister of Gaza, issued a statement that reads:
Another massacre is underway in Khan Younis, where relentless Israeli shelling and sniper fire are wreaking death and destruction on all that moves in the zone east of Khan Younis city.
The villages of Khuzaâ€™a, Al Fukhari, Abasan Alkabir, Abasan Al Saâ€™ir, Jarara, and Bani Suhela received no warning of the attacks, and no warnings to evacuate before the bombardment began at around 11pm last night.
The intensity of Israeli shelling around the Algerian Hospital in Abasan Alkabir shattered its windows, and led to its evacuation, leaving only the emergency department operational.
Despite residentsâ€™ frantic calls to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) for help in finding a safe route and safe vehicles to escape, the ICRC was unable to get a response from Israeli authorities until dawn today, when five bodies and 17 injured were retrieved and taken to Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis.
An unknown number of dead and injured remain behind, as ambulances are prevented access.
Israeli military has declared the Khuzaâ€™a area a closed military zone, preventing even medics from entering it, but reports from Khuzaâ€™a stated that 12 were dead by morning.
The casualties in other villages are unable to be established at this time. Random shelling continues unabated, and Israeli snipers inside houses are attacking anything that moves.
Homes are being destroyed over the heads of entire families. Thousands have been displaced, many fleeing to the Nasser and European Gaza Hospitals.
Even hospitals are not safe, however. Mondayâ€™s attack on Al Aqsa hospital has left staff and patients alike fearing for their lives even within medical facilities.
The reality is that there is no safe sanctuary, for residents, patients or health personnel alike.
As they did in Shujaâ€™eyya, the Israeli military is indiscriminately attacking civilians.
As they did in Shujaâ€™eyya, the Israelis military is refusing to provide humanitarian access to the dead and injured, in clear breach of humanitarian law.
As they did in Shujaâ€™eyya, the Israeli military is committing war crimes, with apparent impunity.
The Ministry of Health Gaza demands that the international community require the Israeli military to
1. Immediately cease all attacks on civilian targets in Gaza;
2. Immediately cease all attacks on medical facilities and personnel in Gaza;
3. Immediately provides access to the dead and injured, as required by international humanitarian law.