At least 22 people were killed in the strike near the ICRC’s Gaza office

  • author, Robert Plummer
  • stock, BBC News

The International Committee of the Red Cross says shelling has damaged its offices in Gaza and killed 22 people who took shelter around its compound.

“Heavy projectiles landed within meters of the International Committee of the Red Cross office and residences on Friday afternoon,” the ICRC statement said.

It also said that all parties have an obligation to take precautionary measures to avoid harm to civilians and humanitarian facilities.

An Israel Defense Forces spokesman told the BBC that initial investigations showed “no indication” of a strike in the area, but that the incident was “under review”.

“The strike damaged the structure of the ICRC office, which is surrounded by hundreds of displaced civilians, including many of our Palestinian colleagues,” the ICRC said.

“The incident caused massive casualties at the nearby Red Cross Field Hospital, with 22 people killed and 45 injured at the hospital, with reports of additional casualties.”

The ICRC said the “serious security incident” was one of several in recent days.

“We condemn these incidents that put the lives of humanitarians and civilians at risk,” the statement added.

The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza gave different figures, saying 25 people were killed and 50 wounded in the shelling, which it blamed on Israel.

More than 37,551 people have been killed in Gaza since then, according to the territory’s Hamas health ministry. Its figures do not distinguish between civilians and combatants, but say 14,680 children, women and the elderly have been identified among the dead by the end of April.

In another development, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned that the swirling hostility between Israel and the Lebanese Islamist movement Hezbollah risks triggering a catastrophe in the region and beyond.

Mr Guterres accused both sides of increasingly belligerent rhetoric and said the world could not afford to turn Lebanon into “another Gaza”.

Retaliatory cross-border attacks between Israel and Hezbollah have continued in recent months. The pro-Iran group says it is fighting Israel in support of its ally Hamas in Gaza.

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