THE Palestinian Red Crescent Society reported yesterday that more than 89 hours have passed, and the fate of its ambulance crew, consisting of paramedics Yusuf Zaino and Ahmed Al-Madhoun, remains unknown.
The paramedics had embarked on a rescue mission to save 6-year-old Hind Rajab, who was trapped in her family’s car after an Israeli shelling.
The Red Crescent urgently appealed to the international community to intervene and exert immediate pressure on Israeli occupation authorities to disclose the fate of both the missing child, Hind, and the ambulance crew deployed to rescue her.
The incident unfolded when Hind was travelling with five members of her family, including her uncle Bashar Hamada, his wife, and their three children.
Israeli tanks surrounded them in the vicinity of the Finance Roundabout in the Tel al-Hawa neighbourhood of Gaza City. The tanks opened fire on their vehicle, resulting in the killing of all occupants except Hind and her cousin, Layan (14 years old).
Layan, attempting to seek help, contacted the ambulance services to rescue her and evacuate her family from the vehicle. However, the Israeli soldiers did not grant her much time before opening fire once again.
The Palestinian Red Crescent shared an audio recording of Layan’s desperate attempts to inform emergency services of their situation, capturing her saying, ‘Uncle, they’re shooting at us, the tank is next to us, we’re in the car, and there’s a tank next to us.’ Subsequently, a barrage of gunfire was heard while Layan screamed, and the call was abruptly cut off.
The ambulance crew dispatched by the Palestinian Red Crescent to the targeted vehicle, aimed at rescuing Hind, has not returned, and all communication with its members has been lost, deepening concerns for their safety.
Meanwhile, hard-right Israeli Finance Minister, Bezalel Smotrich, has unveiled a plan to build 7,000 new housing units for Israeli colonists in the occupied West Bank, according to Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth.
According to the daily, Smotrich intends to convene the so-called High Planning Council to approve the construction of approximately 7,000 new colonial housing units.
It is expected that over 2,000 of these units will go to the final approval stage, though these figures are still subject to review.
The newspaper clarified that convening the council requires political-level approval, noting that the council last met in June of the previous year.
Colonial settlement construction in the occupied territories has been a longstanding obstacle to peace in Palestine, since the colonial Israeli settlements undermine the geographic contiguity of the Palestinian territory.