UN Health Agency Warns Over Continuing Attacks on Healthcare in Gaza

Sun Feb 11 2024
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GAZA CITY: The UN World Health Organization (WHO) has raised alarm over the relentless Israeli attacks on healthcare facilities in Gaza since the onset of hostilities, with more than 350 incidents recorded, resulting in several casualties and damage to infrastructure.

According to WHO spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic, Israeli attacks have led to the deaths of 645 people and injuries to 818 others since October 7. The assaults have targeted 98 healthcare facilities, including 27 hospitals, and damaged 90 ambulances, exacerbating the humanitarian crisis in the enclave.

Recent reports from the UN aid coordination office, OCHA, highlight intensified fighting in Khan Younis, where Nasser Hospital and Al Amal Hospital have been particularly affected. Allegations of sniper shootings near Nasser Hospital and impediments to ambulance movement have been reported, further hindering access to medical care for the population.

Moreover, the escalating violence has spilled over into the occupied West Bank, with 364 attacks on healthcare resulting in 10 fatalities and 62 injuries. This includes damage to 44 health facilities, including mobile clinics and ambulances.

Famine in Gaza as Israel Continues Relentless Bombardment

As the death toll in Gaza surpasses 27,840, and more than 67,300 people are injured, concerns about famine are mounting, particularly in northern Gaza, where access to assistance has been severely restricted.

The UN World Food Program (WFP) has delivered over 32,413 tons of vital food supplies, but distribution challenges continue, with the last food distribution in the north of Wadi Gaza occurring on January 23.

Amid fears of further escalation in Rafah, the UN human rights office, OHCHR, warned against reported attempts by Israel to establish a “buffer zone” with Gaza, potentially constituting a war crime under international law.

OHCHR spokesperson Marta Hurtado emphasized that destruction carried out for general security purposes may not align with the principles of military operations, as outlined in the Geneva Convention.

In response to an Israeli counter-terrorism operation inside a West Bank hospital, where three Palestinians were killed, Hurtado underscored the need for strict adherence to international human rights law, emphasizing that firearms should only be used to prevent imminent threats to life or serious injury.

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