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Red Cross says facilities are abused

GENEVA — Peter Maurer, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, said Thursday his organization is gravely worried about the rising misuse of medical facilities and educational and religious centers in armed conflicts in Syria and other nations.

Maurer said one of the most worrisome trends during the past year was armed forces and rebels in Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Mali, and other nations bringing arms into medical facilities, schools, churches, and mosques, making such places susceptible to military attack.

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Maurer said the Red Cross has compiled data on ‘‘a relatively big sample of cases’’ involving attacks on medical facilities, which are among the most serious violations of international humanitarian law in the conflict zones.

National security forces and armed rebels were the biggest culprits, according to Red Cross data.

About 60 percent of violent attacks and threats in 2012 were directed against doctors, nurses, and paramedics .

ASSOCIATED PRESS

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