Gaza: MSF UK Board member killed during Israeli offensive in Khan Younis

5 March 2024 – Médecins sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) is devastated about the death of Reem Abu Lebdeh, an associate trustee of the MSF UK Board and former staff member in Gaza, whom we believe was killed sometime in December 2023.

Though the exact circumstances and date of Reem’s death remain unclear, we believe she was killed along with members of her family at their home in Khan Younis in southern Gaza. Some members of her family remain unaccounted for.

When the Israeli military campaign moved more extensively into Khan Younis over two months ago, we know Reem was sheltering with her parents and siblings. Regrettably, contact with Reem was lost shortly thereafter and all attempts to regain it failed due to telecommunications networks being cut off.

However, news of Reem’s death and that of her family members gradually emerged in the following weeks. To this day, the zone around the house, which was heavily bombarded by Israeli forces, remains too dangerous to approach.

Reem worked as a physiotherapist for MSF in Gaza from 2018 until 2022, and last year was appointed as an associate trustee of the MSF UK Board.

Reem is the fifth MSF colleague killed in Gaza since the beginning of the war and several members of our staff remain unaccounted for. We are still mourning the loss of lab technician Mohammed Al Ahel, killed in an airstrike with members of his family; volunteer nurse Alaa Al-Shawa shot in the head during a planned evacuation MSF convoy; doctors Mahmoud Abu Nujaila and Ahmad Al Sahar, killed following a strike on Al Awda hospital. All these MSF colleagues were killed in November 2023.

Thousands of people in Gaza are losing their families, their homes and their lives. Gaza’s Ministry of Health has reported over 29,000 people have been killed and over 69,000 wounded.

MSF teams continue to provide medical care in various locations in southern Gaza, including in Rafah where 1.5 million forcibly displaced people are living in dire conditions with extremely limited access to medical care and humanitarian aid.

We reiterate our urgent call for an immediate and sustained ceasefire to spare the lives of civilians and allow for substantial aid to enter the enclave.

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