Palestinian gunshot victims in the occupied West Bank are now being shot more often in the head and torso rather than the limbs, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said Thursday.
The medical charity’s international president, who recently returned from the West Bank, said that since the war between Israel and Hamas erupted on October 7, there had been a “clear shift” in the injuries being witnessed by MSF staff in West Bank hospitals.
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“The type of trauma they are dealing with has changed completely,” Christos Christou told reporters at MSF’s headquarters in Geneva.
“In the past, the mechanism of the shooting was different. They were targeting the limbs,” he said.
“Instead of having injuries in the limbs, they have gunshot wounds in the abdomen, the trunk and the head. This is a clear shift.
“When you see that shift in the trauma, you will see more and more dead people.”
Christou called for greater international attention on the West Bank, where violence has flared since the outbreak of war between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
The Palestinian Authority says Israeli fire and settler attacks in the West Bank -- which has been occupied by Israel since 1967 -- have killed more than 250 Palestinians during the current conflict.
During an Israeli military incursion into the Jenin refugee camp witnessed by Christou, ambulances were prevented from reaching patients and the hospital entrance was blocked.
“Inside the hospital you can feel the level of desperation, knowing that you’re not able to reach the people. There’s nothing worse for a doctor than not being able to reach patients,” he said.
Christou said that within the Gaza Strip, patients were arriving in hospitals with severe injuries due to Israel’s bombardment and dehydration.
“Something quite under-reported is the level of psychological trauma that we see,” he added, notably among children arriving in Gaza hospitals with no surviving relatives.
“Even if they are intact and they are OK, there is a huge psychological trauma there that will take, I don’t think only years, it will take generations to be healed.”
Israel declared war on Hamas after the militant group’s October 7 attack that killed 1,200 people, mostly civilians, according to Israeli authorities, and saw around 240 hostages taken into Gaza.
The latest toll from the Hamas-run government media office said 16,248 people in Gaza, most of them women and children, had been killed.
Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas and free 138 hostages still held after scores were released during a short-lived truce.
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