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Friday, May 14, 2004

Tuesday - Palestinian Gunmen Hijacked UNRWA Ambulance

JPost: The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in the Palestinian territories has issued a call to all parties in the conflict to respect the integrity of its ambulance service after an incident on Tuesday in which armed Palestinian combatants 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 at no time and under no circumstances should armed men enter any UNRWA vehicle," a statement from the organization said.
In the past three-and-a-half years the army has witnessed a growing trend in the cynical use of Palestinian medical crews and ambulances by terrorist organizations who operate within populated civilian areas, use ambulances to transport weapons and fugitives and seek refuge in hospitals in an attempt to evade inspection by IDF troops.
I appreciate that the UNRWA called for respect for its ambulance service, but "to all parties"? Why not a call specifically to the Palestinians?

After all, the IDF found an explosive belt and two wanted men in a Palestinian "Red Crescent" ambulance in March 2002, and arrested a Hamas terrorist in October 2001 for using his position as an ambulance driver to transfer weapons and his freedom of passage to act as a messenger for Hamas. It is thought that the first Palestinian female suicide bomber used a medical vehicle to carry out her attack in January 2002.