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Respect medical neutrality, demands BMA

The BMA has urged all combatants to respect the binding principle of medical neutrality.

The association spoke out amid the mounting death toll in the latest Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

GazaHospitals in the Gaza Strip have come under fire during the recent escalation of tensions between the Israeli government and the militant group Hamas, which is dominant in Gaza.

At least 649 Palestinians and 31 Israelis have been killed since the crisis began on July 8.

BMA council chair Mark Porter said the association was deeply concerned by the loss of life in the conflict and by the recent shelling of medical facilities in Gaza.

He insisted: ‘All combatants must respect binding international standards of medical neutrality and support the common humanity of help for those people injured in war. Medical personnel, patients, facilities and transports must be free at all time from attack or any form of military interference or misuse.’

Civilians shelled

The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees said hundreds of civilians were trying to take shelter in medical facilities during the shelling.

In one of its reports on the crisis, the agency says: ‘The situation could not be more dire for the collapsed health sector in Gaza, with this latest conflict only adding to the burden on overwhelmed doctors and medical staff.’

The immediate trigger for this month’s escalation was the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank on June 12. 

Hamas denied Israeli accusations of involvement. Each side subsequently launched rocket attacks.

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