FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Two separate Palestinian medical teams reported Wednesday May 16th, that the Israeli army injured, arrested, and harassed medical workers last night as they were trying to help injured people and take away dead bodies. In one incident a medical center was occupied by the Israeli army and two medical workers were taken hostage. In the second, the army prevented medical workers from reaching injured people in a building they were shooting at and then beat them with their rifles.
At 10:50 pm Israeli Special Forces arrived in a private car at the Nablus Ambulance Medical Service Center, a private medical service in Nablus. The army later arrived in Jeeps, occupied the medical center and prevented the medical workers from answering the phones. The volunteers protested, saying that they need to answer the phones to be able to help people, but the soldiers refused and then confiscated the cell phones of all the health workers.
They then arrested two medical workers, Loay and Moayyad Qassas, and took them to a building that the army had occupied. On the way, they met with more soldiers who had taken nine students and escorted the whole group to the building. All eleven of them were taken to the 5th floor of the building where the army had set up snipers. Their lives were put in danger by the military as the building was under fire. They were released at the end of the operation. Loay went back to the medical center in the morning, but was not allowed in because the army was still occupying it.
In a different part of the city, at 3:15am one ambulance driver, Sameh Ahmed, 37, of Nablus Ambulance and a volunteer Merwan Shanti, 24, of Palestinian Medical Relief tried to reach injured people inside a building the army was surrounding. The Jeeps blocked the ambulance from nearing the building, so the two medical workers approached on foot. The soldiers told them to go into the house that they were shooting at, but they refused to be human shields. At 3:30am, the soldier beat them using their rifles. They were not badly injured and decided to wait until after the army stopped shooting at 6am when they were allowed into the building.
Other Palestinian Medical Relief teams tried to enter the area that was invaded in the morning but were blocked by Jeeps from entering some streets. They were attempting to respond to people suffering from high blood pressure, asthma and stress due to the operation the night before and eventually succeeded in transporting took two women to the hospital.
For more information:
Nablus Ambulance medical center: 09 233 3601
ISM Media Office: 02 297 1824