THE British Red Cross has launched an appeal to help provide medical assistance in Israel and Gaza.

The emergency appeal will support aid work to help people affected on both sides of the conflict, which has so far claimed more than 600 lives, including more than 500 civilians.

The British Red Cross has sent a specialist surgeon to Gaza to help medical staff and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) already on the ground as the number of casualties continues to rise.

Across the border in Israel, families have been forced to leave their homes amid sustained rocket fire.

"The images of suffering we are seeing from Gaza and Israel are appalling. It is heartbreaking to see so many families, on both sides of the border, torn apart by this conflict," said Katy Attfield, head of disaster management at the British Red Cross.

“The escalation of violence is dangerously impeding humanitarian access. It is vital that emergency services are able to function so they can reach those who desperately need our help.”

Appeal funds will support the Red Cross to provide critical assistance during this conflict and its aftermath. Donations can be made by telephoning 0845 054 7202, online at or by post to British Red Cross, Gaza and Israel Appeal, 44 Moorfields, London, EC2Y 9AL.