NEW YORK: The United Nations (UN) and the Red Cross voiced alarm on Wednesday following the Israeli forces’ raid on Gaza’s largest hospital, demanding that thousands of patients and civilians there be protected.
Israeli forces raided Al-Shifa hospital on Wednesday morning, where the UN estimates that at least 2,300 people – patients, staff and displaced civilians – are inside and may be unable to evacuate due to intense fighting.
Israeli forces claimed to be targeting a Hamas command centre in tunnels beneath the hospital, a claim disputed by both Hamas and the hospital’s doctors. UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths stated, “I’m appalled by reports of military raids in Al Shifa hospital in Gaza,” emphasising the need to prioritize the protection of civilians, including newborns, patients, and medical staff.
World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus echoed these concerns, stating that reports of a military incursion into Al-Shifa hospital are deeply troubling. The International Committee of the Red Cross also expressed extreme concern about the impact on sick and wounded individuals, medical staff, and civilians, emphasising the necessity to take all measures to protect them.
Amid Israel’s ongoing attacks on the Gaza Strip, the health ministry in Gaza reported a significant number of casualties, including thousands of children. Al-Shifa hospital has become a key target in Israel’s campaign, with witnesses describing dire conditions inside, including medical procedures without anaesthesia, families with limited access to food and water living in corridors, and the overpowering stench of decomposing corpses.