Red Cross shocked at deadly shelling of Somali hospital

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The international Red Cross on Thursday expressed shock at the repeated shelling of a hospital in the Somali capital Mogadishu that has killed at least one patient in the past three days.

"We are shocked about the situation at Keysaney," said Pascal Mauchle, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) delegation in Somalia.

"The situation is becoming more and more dangerous for patients and medical staff by the day," he added in a statement.

Two more mortar shells hit the Keysaney Hospital in northern Mogadishu on Thursday, damaging the building, according to the ICRC.

A first shell on Tuesday left one patient dead and another wounded.

"Despite our repeated calls to all warring parties to respect international humanitarian law and spare medical facilities, nothing seems to have changed on the ground," Mauchle said.

Nearly 1,400 war wounded have been treated at Keysaney this year, including more than 300 women and about 200 children.

The ICRC and the Somali Red Crescent Society underlined that the hospital, one of two they operate in Mogadishu, was clearly marked with their protective emblem.

They warned all parties to the conflict that launching attacks against medical facilities marked with the red crescent is a violation of international law.

Western-backed government troops and the hardline rebels in Somalia have for months been locked in see-sawing military offensives in strategic locations in Mogadishu.

© 2010 AFP

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