Gaza clinics destroyed by raids

Israeli warplanes have attacked two fully equipped medical clinics in Gaza, causing hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage, the Christian organisations which fund them reported yesterday. The Catholic relief group Caritas said its clinic in the al-Meghazi area of Gaza had been "completely destroyed" by a missile on Friday, and that 20 nearby homes had been damaged. Because local families had already fled their homes, no one was hurt, Caritas said, but equipment worth $10,000 (£6,700) was lost.

Twenty-fours later, another clinic funded by Christian Aid was also demolished in an air strike; it followed a telephone warning to the building's owners to leave within 15 minutes. Janet Symes, Christian Aid's head of Middle East Region, said the clinic had "standing room" only for mothers bringing their children for check-ups when she visited it last year. She added: "Now the whole clinic lies in ruins."

Little more than a sixth of the 1,200 Egyptian hospital beds being reserved for injured Palestinians have been filled, despite estimates that more than 4,000 have been wounded. With a World Health Organisation report saying that Gaza City's Shifa Hospital remains "overwhelmed", the dangers of evacuating patients through southern Gaza have severely reduced the flow of patients to hospitals in Egypt. The Red Cross has decided to keep its evacuations under review after one of its lorries was shot at by Israeli troops.

Comments