GENEVA, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) — Israel has violated its obligations under international humanitarian law by refusing to assist civilians wounded in its attacks on the Gaza Strip, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Thursday.According to a statement issued by the agency, in the Zaytun neighborhood of Gaza City, ICRC workers found four small children next to their dead mothers in one of the houses. They were too weak to stand up on their own. One man was also found alive, too weak to stand up.
In another house, the ICRC rescue team found 15 other survivors of the attack, including several wounded. There were several Israeli military positions nearby.
“This is a shocking incident,” said Pierre Wettach, the ICRC’s head of delegation for Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
“The Israeli military must have been aware of the situation but did not assist the wounded. Neither did they make it possible for us or the Palestine Red Crescent to assist the wounded,” he said.
According to the statement, the ICRC had requested safe passage for ambulances to access this neighborhood since Jan. 3, but it only received permission to do so from the Israel Defense Forces during the afternoon of Jan. 7.
“In this instance the Israeli military failed to meet its obligation under international humanitarian law to care for and evacuate the wounded,” the ICRC said.
The agency considers the delay in allowing rescue services access unacceptable, it added.