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UN hears Gaza 'war crimes' testimonies

June 28, 2009 12:46 P.M. (Updated: June 28, 2009 12:46 P.M.)
Gaza - Ma'an - The UN fact-finding mission in Gaza City on Sunday started its first public hearing sessions to collect testimonials from victims of the Israeli war on the coastal region in December and January.

Sessions were supposed to continue for two days, after which the collected testimonials will be sent to Geneva next week.

The committee consists of four experts headed by South African Judge Richard Goldstone. They will meet war victims, eyewitnesses, and Gazan experts at the UN headquarters there.

Other sessions will be held in Geneva on 6 and 7 July so specialists can study the consequences and impact of the Israeli military offensive, which left thousands of Palestinians dead and injured.

The first testimony the committee heard was from the director of the World Health Organization in Gaza, who explained that the Strip's hospitals had suffered from severe shortage in equipment and medicines that rendered them unable to provide appropriate services for the large numbers of injuries, as well as other patients.

He highlighted that continuous closure of the Gaza Strip crossing points impeded passage of medicines and medical equipment. He also told the committee that medical aid to the injured was difficult because Israeli forces repeatedly opened fire on medical staff. He also noted that 16 medics were killed during the offensive.
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