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From the field

B'Tselem: Evacuate wounded trapped in buildings shelled by Israeli army

In the last few hours, B'Tselem has received a report of a Palestinian extended family trapped since Saturday night in the ruins of their house, in southern Gaza City, together with some thirty bodies of family members killed in IDF shelling. Family members contacted the International Commission of the Red Cross who told them they could not send an ambulance as the army would not enable coordination of its arrival.

According to the report, 31 members of the a-Samuni family, living in the Zeitoun neighborhood in southern Gaza City, were killed in a series of incidents Saturday night (January 3), including IDF gunfire and a shell that landed on the house. Fifteen additional members of the family are still in the family's compound. Five of them are wounded and it is unclear what their condition is.

The family still had one cell phone. However, the family member in contact with B'Tselem said that the phone was taken by soldiers this afternoon, as one of the girls in the family was talking on it.

In a separate incident, thirteen members of the extended a-Daya family, also from the Zeitoun neighborhood were killed today when their building collapsed due to an aerial bombardment. Eight additional family members are still missing and there is a fear that they are buried under the ruins.

B'Tselem provided all the information it has on these incidents to the ICRC and the military.

B'Tselem demands that the military immediately enable ambulances to reach the area in order to evacuate the wounded and the dead. It must also allow the remaining members of the a-Samuni family to leave their compound.