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United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)
13 May 2004
Press Release No. HQ/G/09/2004
13 May 2004
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
UNRWA Calls on All Parties to Respect
the Neutrality of its Ambulances
UNRWA, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, has issued a call to all the parties to the conflict in the occupied Palestinian territory to respect the integrity of its ambulance services and the neutrality and impartiality of its staff.
The call follows an incident in Gaza City on 11 May in which armed Palestinian militants threatened the lives of an UNRWA ambulance team (a driver and a paramedic) and forced them to transport an injured gunman and two of his armed colleagues to a hospital in Gaza City.
UNRWA condemns this action in the strongest possible terms. While its ambulances do not make any distinction between the injured, whether they are injured fighters or non-combatants, at no time and under no circumstances should armed men enter any UNRWA vehicle.
Note to Editors: UNRWA currently has a fleet of six ambulances in the Gaza Strip. Their normal duties are to transport seriously ill patients from UNRWA clinics to hospitals. They will also transport pregnant women from their homes to UNRWA’s Gaza labour ward.
During conflicts, if so required, they assist Palestinian Ministry of Health (MOH) and Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) ambulances to ferry the injured away from the fighting to hospital emergency rooms.