Released today by the IDF to the press, but unlikely to hit your local papers:
IDF SPOKESPERSON ANNOUNCEMENT
Humanitarian assistance during the IDF operation in Rafah.
During IDF operation in Rafah which began on May 18, 2004, the IDF enhanced its humanitarian assistance through its district coordination offices. These offices were instructed to assist with all requests put forward by Palestinians in order to ease the situation of the civilian population.
· During the operation 70 ambulances, more than 40 trucks loaded with food, water, medical supplies, mattresses and blankets flowed into the combat zone.
· 490 oxygen tanks were delivered to hospitals in Gaza.
Although the IDF coordination office offered to treat the wounded in Israeli hospitals, the Palestinians declined and only two of the wounded were transported to Israeli hospitals for further medical care.
In spite of the heavy fighting, forces were designated for the opening of safe passages for ambulances in order to evacuate the wounded. In addition, the IDF continues to operate the humanitarian hotline through the DCOs which was opened during the activity and continues to facilitate the requests and grievances put forward by the Palestinians.
Due to intensive fighting and the fact the Palestinians rigged the roads and alleys with explosive devices; heavy damage was inflicted to the civilian infrastructure in the area. The IDF facilitated Palestinian professional teams to attend to the electricity, sewage and water systems.