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The international Red Cross on Sunday deplored the killing by the Israel Defense Forces of two "clearly marked" ambulance workers removing a Palestinian body from an earlier Israeli attack in the Gaza Strip.

The paramedics of the Palestine Red Crescent Society were wearing clearly marked fluorescent jackets and the flashing lights of their ambulance were visible from a great distance when they were hit by Israeli fire after dark on Friday evening, said the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

"The International Committee of the Red Cross is appalled by this failure to protect personnel engaged in emergency medical duties," a statement said.

"The individuals concerned and their means of transport were clearly marked with a distinctive emblem conferring the protection of the Geneva Conventions [on the conduct of warfare]," continued the same statement.

'Deeply shocked'

One of the paramedics was killed on the spot when Israeli Defense Force munitions suddenly hit the area, it said.

The other died of his injuries a few hours later.

The ICRC "deplores" the deaths and "is deeply shocked and saddened by this event," the statement said.

It noted that the Palestinian Red Crescent is a member of the international Red Cross movement.

"Under international humanitarian law, its medical personnel and means of transport must be protected and respected in all circumstances," the ICRC said.

The incident occurred during an Israeli offensive against Palestinian rocket squads.