UN relief agency calls for respect of its ambulance services after incident in Gaza

13 May 2004 –

The main United Nations relief agency helping Palestine refugees today called on 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, a UN spokesman said.

The appeal by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) comes after an incident Tuesday in Gaza City 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, spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in New York.

"UNRWA condemns this action in the strongest possible terms," he said. "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."

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