Middle EastWar

Red Crescent Says Israeli Troops Came in Aid Truck to Free Hostages

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) said Monday that Israeli troops used an aid truck to infiltrate central Gaza’s Nuseirat camp when they rescued four Israeli hostages over the weekend.

The Red Cross’s local Palestinian branch said in a statement that it warned “of the danger of the occupation forces’ use, on Saturday, of such a vehicle to infiltrate the camp.

“The occupation forces deceived people by disguising themselves under the cover of aid that civilians desperately need amid their suffering from severe food insecurity,” the statement said.

“This endangers the safety of relief teams.”

Such a precedent raises the possibility of humanitarian aid workers being perceived with suspicion in the future, Nebal Farsakh, a spokeswoman for PRCS, told AFP.

Asked about the Red Crescent’s statement Monday, the Israeli army referred AFP to a June 8 tweet in which spokesman Avichay Adraee dismissed the allegations that forces entered Nuseirat in aid trucks as “lies.”

Four hostages held in Gaza since October 7 were released during the military operation in Nuseirat refugee camp on Saturday.

Almog Meir Jan, 22, Noa Argamani, 26, Andrey Kozlov, 27, and Shlomi Ziv, 41, were kidnapped from the Nova festival on October 7.

Hamas-run Gaza’s health ministry said at least 274 Palestinians were killed and 698 wounded during the military operation in Nuseirat camp on Saturday.

The UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, OCHA, said in a statement Monday that the flow of casualties from the rescue operation “has greatly overwhelmed the limited capacities of hospitals” in the area.

Israeli forces have disguised themselves as civilian aid workers to reach targets in the past too.

In January, undercover agents, some dressed as medics, shot dead three Palestinian militants in Ibn Sina hospital in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin, with the army saying they belonged to a “Hamas terrorist cell.”

The war in Gaza broke out after Hamas’ unprecedented October 7 attack on Israel, which resulted in the deaths of 1,194 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli official figures.

The militants also abducted 251 hostages during the attack.

More than 100 of them were freed during a November truce, and after Saturday’s rescue mission 116 hostages remain in Gaza, although the army says 41 of them are dead.

Israel’s retaliatory offensive has killed at least 37,124 people in Gaza, also mostly civilians, according to the Hamas-run territory’s health ministry.

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