The International Committee of the Red Cross has found at least 15 bodies and several starving children in an area that Israeli military forbid ambulances.
The find came after the Red Cross received reports of casualties in a neighbourhood south of Gaza City in Zaytoun. The Israeli military refused to allow the international humanitarian group to enter until Wednesday afternoon.
The Washington Post reports that a public statement on the incident was issued by the Geneva headquarters of the group.
The Red Cross called the episode “unacceptable” and said the Israeli military had “failed to meet its obligation under international humanitarian law to care for and evacuate the wounded.”
In one of the homes 12 corpses were on a mattress with four young children too weak to stand up laying next to their slain mothers. Those children were rushed to hospital.
The Israel Defense Forces would not comment on the incident Thursday but did say in a statement that the military “has demonstrated its willingness to abort operations to save civilian lives and to risk injury in order to assist innocent civilians.”
The statement went on to say that any allegations made against the conduct of the IDF will need a formal investigation once there has been a formal complaint.
Israel also stated that they have returned fire on a rocket-launching site in Lebanon. The site has reportedly fired several rockets into western Galilee landing around the city of Nahariya. Eighteen wounded survivors were taken by donkey carts for medical attention. Rescue workers were chased by Israeli soldiers but refused to leave.
This is a shocking incident,” Pierre Wettach, the Red Cross’s head of delegation for Israel and the Palestinian territories, said in a statement. “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.”
There is no official comments from Lebanon on this incident. Hezbollah leader Hasan Nasrallah has stated though that Lebanon would attack Israel for the action ongoing in Gaza.
Journalists reporting from within Gaza have confirmed large numbers of survivors are arriving at the Red Cross hospitals in Gaza from Zaytoun.
Of the 680 Palestinians that have died since the conflict began last week one third have been women and children.