A Palestinian ambulance driver this week debunked accusations that Israeli forces had blocked medical rescue crews from reaching wounded Palestinians in the Gaza Strip during the assault on Hamas forces there.
Foreign media has repeatedly reported that Israeli forces prevented Red Crescent ambulances from attending to civilians caught in the crossfire as the IDF battled terrorists or bombed their positions. Human rights groups have reacted to those reports by filing war crimes charges against the Jewish state.
But Gaza-based Red Crescent ambulance driver Mohammed Shriteh told the Sydney Morning Herald that it was in fact Hamas that made it difficult to reach and treat wounded civilians, while the Israeli army did everything to facilitate access.
"We would coordinate with the Israelis before we pick up patients, because they have all our names and our IDs, and they would not shoot at us," said Shriteh.
Hamas, on the other hand, tried several times to steal ambulances or to force ambulance drivers to transport terrorists.
Shriteh recounted that on one occasion during the war he received a call to a house, only to find three Hamas gunmen who ordered him to get them past a nearby Israeli force. He refused, knowing that aiding the terrorists would put him in hot water with the Israelis, and was eventually allowed to leave.
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