Heroic Gaza medic dodges bullets to save lives

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Dr Amira Al-Assouli (above) and (above, right) rushing to rescue a person in the entrance to the Nasser Medical Complex.

WITH unwavering courage, Dr Amira Al-Assouli, a female Palestinian physician, sprinted through Israeli sniper bullets and drones targeting anything that moved to save an injured person at the entrance of the Nasser Medical Complex in Khan Yunis in the Gaza Strip.

Al-Assouli did not hesitate for a moment to risk her life in rescuing a wounded person bleeding near the main entrance. She swiftly removed her winter coat, and rushed towards the injured youth before being joined by another doctor and two other individuals.
In the background of a video circulated on social media, a young man ran behind the ambulance stretcher, boosting the morale of the rescue team, exclaiming: ‘Heroes… by God, heroes. Bless you all.’
Al-Assouli, after the incident, stated: ‘Our fear was removed from our hearts when I felt that someone needed help. I didn’t think about myself; I thought about saving people.’
She continued: ‘I returned to work as a volunteer at the Nasser Complex. Our mission since graduation is clear: whenever someone needs help, my duty is not to think about myself but to think about saving lives.’
Reflecting on a recent incident, she said: ‘Some time ago, a young man was martyred under the hospital window. I went to him… Unfortunately, we found him already martyred. We carried him together to the mortuary.’
Al-Assouli, a retired obstetrician from Nasser Medical Complex in Khan Yunis, returned as a volunteer since the beginning of the Israeli genocidal war on Gaza.
She holds a Palestinian board in obstetrics and gynaecology since 2009 and an Arab board in the same field, along with several courses in gynaecological endoscopy.
In a related context, during these times of hardship, paramedics Yusuf Zeino and Ahmed Al-Madhoon also undertook a perilous mission in the severe cold and dark.
They drove an ambulance to the vicinity of the Finance Roundabout in Tel Al-Hawa, southwest of Gaza City, following a plea from the child Hind Rajab to save her life.
Since their move on Monday, January 29, contact had been lost with both of them.
All attempts to reach them or ascertain the fate of the child Hind were unsuccessful.
According to the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilians in Wartime, it is prohibited to attack organised civilian hospitals providing care to the wounded and sick.
On Saturday, February 10, 2024, the bodies of the child Hind Rajab (six years old), her uncle Bashar Hamada, and his wife and their children Mohammad (11 years old), Layan (14 years old), and Raghad (13 years old) were discovered.
Hind endured long hours of terror, hunger, cold, and darkness amidst the five corpses of her relatives, while Israeli tanks manoeuvred around their vehicle, showering it with bullets.
The Palestinian Red Crescent posted an audio recording, where the voice of the little girl Hind trying to inform emergency services of what was happening can be heard, saying: ‘Uncle, they’re shooting at us, the tank is next to us.
‘We’re in the car, and the tank is next to us.’ After that, the sound of a barrage of bullets was heard while Hind screamed, and the contact was cut.
While Hind pleaded with the world, Zeino and Al-Madhoon had arrived just a few metres away after coordinating with international and human rights organisations.
However, as is usual, the Israeli occupation lacks the slightest ethical considerations in both war and peace, bombarding the ambulance and leaving the two paramedics to burn until they were charred.
No one knows when Hind died, or how long she remained alive among the five bodies, or if she heard the sound of the ambulance, thinking for a moment that her rescue was imminent.
Perhaps she witnessed the bombardment of Zeino and Al-Madhoon.
For 12 days, Israeli tanks surrounded the bodies, and the girl remained alive for hours, left amidst the five corpses before hope in her rescue was killed.
What victory is there over corpses? Over the cries and fears of a 6-year-old girl? Over an ambulance?
Of note, the Palestinian Minister of Health, Mai Alkaila, announced days ago that 340 doctors and healthcare workers in Gaza have been killed, and around 900 have been injured since the continuous aggression by the occupation began on October 7th, 2023.
The Israeli authorities have arrested and continue to hold some 100 medical personnel.

  • UNRWA (The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees) has warned of the consequences of any military operation or attack on the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, stating that there is no other place for people to go.

UNRWA spokesperson Tamara Al-Rifai said in a press statement on Sunday that any military operation in Rafah would lead to the same consequences we have already seen, meaning the killing and displacement of more people.
She further explained that people are not allowed to return to their homes in the northern Gaza Strip, and most of the residential units in the north have been destroyed.
Al-Rifai pointed out that there are many unexploded ordnances and explosives left by the war in the northern area, and it is not logical to consider the return of anyone to areas where there are still many explosive devices that may detonate.
The danger now looms over the possibility of intense fighting in Rafah, where people are currently crowded.
The Israeli occupation army continues to shell and target the city, which is in the southernmost part of the Gaza Strip on the border with Egypt, where more than 1.3 million displaced people are crowded, five times the number of its original population, amid desperate humanitarian and living conditions, according to the United Nations.
UNRWA also stated on Saturday that the potential Israeli military attack on Rafah, amid the presence of these vulnerable inhabitants, would be a complete catastrophe.
UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini said in a press statement that many residents of Rafah and the displaced people who have come there, totalling 1.4 million people, are living in temporary shelters in plastic tents on the streets.
He added that the Israeli military attack on Rafah amid these completely exposed vulnerable people would be a catastrophe.
Lazzarini concluded: ‘I no longer find words to describe the situation in Gaza.’
Earlier on Saturday, the official Israeli broadcasting authority claimed that the military operation in Rafah would only begin after a complete and widescale evacuation of civilians from the city and its suburbs.
In response, the Gaza Government Media Office warned of an unprecedented catastrophe and massacre if Israel invaded the Rafah governorate.
Rafah is the last refuge for displaced people in the devastated Gaza Strip and has been subjected to several Israeli airstrikes and tank shelling during the night, with paramedics reporting several injuries and casualties among the displaced.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs stated that more than half of Gaza’s population, totalling 2.3 million people, are currently crowded in the city of Rafah and its surrounding areas.
Since the beginning of the ground operation launched by the Israeli forces on the Gaza Strip on October 27th last year, Israel has instructed civilian residents to move from the north and centre of the Strip to the south, claiming that it is a safe zone, but they have not been spared from the shelling of homes, cars, and hospitals.
As a result of the atrocities committed in the Strip, Israel faces accusations of genocide before the International Court of Justice for the first time in its history, which, although this bid to end Israel’s impunity has been met with regional and international support, it has still been met with opposition from the United States.