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Finland: Church Group Demands Probe of Gaza Clinic Attack
The clinic in better days, photo: Kirkon Ulkomaanavun sti
YLE, Jan. 11, updated Jan. 12
http://www.yle.fi/uutiset/news/2009/01/finn_church_aid-funded_clinic_destroyed_in_gaza_473543.html?print=true
Gush Shalom press release Jan. 13
http://zope.gush-shalom.org/home/en/channels/press_releases/1231809398/

A hospital clinic partly funded by Finn Church Aid was destroyed in a missile strike in Gaza late Saturday night. The Lutheran organisation is demanding that the government find out why Israel destroyed the Al Shujaia clinic.

No one was injured in the Israeli attack.

Israeli troops fired a warning missile before launching the attack, allowing residents to vacate the area before the strike. However the second missile made a direct hit on the clinic, obliterating it completely.

From our point of view, this was a calculated act. Even the warning missile targeted the clinic, which was clearly marked with the insignia of the Red Cross. This attack broke all international treaties, said Jouni Hemberg, Chief of Humanitarian Aid for Finn Church Aid.

The clinic is located in the heart of the battle zone and was closed due to the weak security situation. Finn Church Aid has funded the clinic for several years along with other Nordic organisations. The clinic focused on providing primary health care for mainly women and children.

Finn Church Aid supports three other clinics in Gaza, all of them also closed.

The security situation in Gaza is so tenuous that disaster aid services are not travelling to the area. Since Friday trailers have been waiting near the Gaza border for a ceasefire and an improvement in the situation. The trucks are loaded with therapy and energy food for children as well as other items such as medicines and blankets.

Stubb to Meet with Israeli Ambassador

On Monday, Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb did not want to take a stand on whether or not the destruction of the clinic was a deliberate act on Israel`s action. He also emphasised that Finland condemns all attacks on humanitarian targets.

The matter has been discussed with Israel on the civil servant level, and Stubb plans to meet with the Israeli Ambassador on Wednesday.


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