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Gaza’s Nasser hospital is not functioning after Israeli raid, World Health Organization warns


The main hospital serving southern Gaza ‘is not functional anymore’ after Israeli forces raided the facility, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned.

Israeli forces stormed Nasser hospital in Khan Younis last week in what the army described as a ‘precise and limited’ operation seeking the remains of hostages taken by Hamas, which the military has accused of ‘cynically using hospitals for terror’.

Israel Defense Forces raided the medical centre on Thursday after ‘credible intelligence’ found Hamas had held hostages at the hospital and that the remains of hostages might still be inside. IDF but did not release the evidence it was citing. 

Now, just days after the raid, WHO has revealed that its team was not allowed to enter Nasser Hospital on Friday or Saturday to assess patients and critical medical needs. 

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in a post on X, said that about 200 patients remain at Nasser, including 20 who need urgent referrals elsewhere.

Israeli forces stormed Nasser hospital in Khan Younis last week. The hospital, pictured above, is  'not functional anymore' after the military raided the facility, the World Health Organization has warned

Israeli forces stormed Nasser hospital in Khan Younis last week. The hospital, pictured above, is  ‘not functional anymore’ after the military raided the facility, the World Health Organization has warned

Injured Palestinians are brought to Kuwait Hospital for treatment following Israeli attacks on Rafah City in the south of Gaza on February 15, 2024

Injured Palestinians are brought to Kuwait Hospital for treatment following Israeli attacks on Rafah City in the south of Gaza on February 15, 2024

Palestinian patients rest as they arrive in Rafah on February 15, 2024 after they were evacuated from Nasser hospital in Khan Younis due to the Israeli ground operation

Palestinian patients rest as they arrive in Rafah on February 15, 2024 after they were evacuated from Nasser hospital in Khan Younis due to the Israeli ground operation

‘Nasser hospital in Gaza is not functional anymore, after a week-long siege followed by the ongoing raid,’ Ghebreyesus tweeted on Sunday.

‘Both yesterday and the day before, the WHO team was not permitted to enter the hospital to assess the conditions of the patients and critical medical needs, despite reaching the hospital compound to deliver fuel alongside partners.’

He added: ‘Medical referral is every patient’s right. The cost of delays will be paid by patients’ lives. Access to the patients and hospital should be facilitated.’

It is understood that there are only four medical staff are still inside Nasser to care for the remaining patients, BBC News reported. 

A source inside the hospital told the news outlet that 11 patients had died ‘due to interruptions in the supply of electricity and oxygen’. The insider also claimed that ‘several’ doctors has been arrested.

Israel says it arrested over 100 suspected terrorists at the hospital, including 20 who it says participated in the Oct. 7 attack, without providing evidence. 

IDF said it was looking for the remains of hostages inside the facility and does not target doctors or patients.

Ruth Munder, freed by Hamas last year, told Army Radio she was kept on the second floor of Nasser Hospital with other hostages.

The Gaza Health Ministry said 70 medical personnel were among those arrested, along with patients in hospital beds. 

Ashraf al-Qidra, a ministry spokesperson, said soldiers stripped and beat detainees. There was no immediate comment from the Israeli military on the allegations.

Israeli troops were instructed to keep the hospital running and on Saturday a military spokesperson said that both food and water had been delivered to the facility. It is unclear what the status was as of Sunday.

A source inside Nasser Hospital, pictured, has claimed that 11 patients had died 'due to interruptions in the supply of electricity and oxygen'

A source inside Nasser Hospital, pictured, has claimed that 11 patients had died ‘due to interruptions in the supply of electricity and oxygen’

It is also understood that there are only four medical staff are still inside Nasser, pictured, to care for the remaining patients

It is also understood that there are only four medical staff are still inside Nasser, pictured, to care for the remaining patients

People inspect the damage in a room following Israeli bombardment at Nasser hospital in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on December 17, 2023

People inspect the damage in a room following Israeli bombardment at Nasser hospital in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on December 17, 2023

Video of the aftermath of Thursday's strike, taken by a doctor who works at the hospital, showed medics scrambling to wheel patients on stretchers through a corridor filled with smoke or dust

Video of the aftermath of Thursday's strike, taken by a doctor who works at the hospital, showed medics scrambling to wheel patients on stretchers through a corridor filled with smoke or dust

Video of the aftermath of Thursday’s strike, taken by a doctor who works at the hospital, showed medics scrambling to wheel patients on stretchers through a corridor filled with smoke or dust

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in an X post on Sunday, said that about 200 patients remain at Nasser, including 20 who need urgent referrals elsewhere

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in an X post on Sunday, said that about 200 patients remain at Nasser, including 20 who need urgent referrals elsewhere

Israeli strikes across Gaza killed at least 18 people overnight into Sunday, according to medics and witnesses, as the United States said it would veto another draft United Nations (UN) cease-fire resolution.

The US, Israel’s top ally, instead hopes to broker a cease-fire agreement and hostage release between Israel and Hamas, and envisions a wider resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called Hamas’ demands ‘delusional’ and rejected US and international calls for a pathway to Palestinian statehood.

His Cabinet adopted a declaration Sunday saying Israel ‘categorically rejects international edicts on a permanent arrangement with the Palestinians’ and opposes any unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state, which it said would ‘grant a major prize to terror’ after the Oct. 7 attack that triggered the war.

Netanyahu has vowed to continue the offensive until ‘total victory’ over the Hamas terrorist group and to expand it to Gaza’s southernmost town of Rafah, where more than half the enclave’s population of 2.3 million Palestinians has sought refuge.

Netanyahu has pushed back against international concern about a Rafah offensive, saying residents will be evacuated to safer areas. Where they will go in largely devastated Gaza is not clear.

An airstrike in Rafah overnight killed six people, including a woman and three children, and another strike killed five men in Khan Younis, the main target of the offensive in southern Gaza in recent weeks. Associated Press journalists saw the bodies arrive at a hospital in Rafah.

‘All those who were martyred were those whom the Jews asked to move to safe places,’ said a bystander after the Rafah strike, Ahmad Abu Rezeq.

In Gaza City, which suffered widespread destruction in the initial weeks of the war, an airstrike flattened a home, killing seven people, including three women, according to Sayed al-Afifi, a relative.

Israel’s military rarely comments on individual strikes and blames civilian casualties on Hamas because the terrorists operate in dense residential areas.

In the occupied West Bank, a shootout erupted when Israeli forces went to arrest an armed suspect in the town of Tulkarem. The military said the suspect was killed, and a member of Israel’s paramilitary Border Police was severely wounded. It described the target of the raid as a senior Hamas member. The Palestinian Health Ministry said two Palestinians were killed.

Palestinian patients rest as they arrive in Rafah after they were evacuated from Nasser hospital in Khan Younis on February 15, 2024 due to the Israeli ground operation

Palestinian patients rest as they arrive in Rafah after they were evacuated from Nasser hospital in Khan Younis on February 15, 2024 due to the Israeli ground operation

Hawkers are seen selling what little food and basic life necessities they have left on the streets as Palestinians struggle with the rising cost of living due to Israeli attacks in Gaza City on February 14, 2024

Hawkers are seen selling what little food and basic life necessities they have left on the streets as Palestinians struggle with the rising cost of living due to Israeli attacks in Gaza City on February 14, 2024

Palestinian children rest outside after arriving in Rafah following their evacuation from Nasser hospital in Khan Younis on February 15, 2024

Palestinian children rest outside after arriving in Rafah following their evacuation from Nasser hospital in Khan Younis on February 15, 2024

Palestinians wounded in an Israeli strike lie in corridor at Nasser hospital in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip on January 12, 2024

Palestinians wounded in an Israeli strike lie in corridor at Nasser hospital in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip on January 12, 2024

Injured Palestinians are brought to Kuwait Hospital for treatment following Israeli attacks on Rafah City in the south of Gaza on February 15, 2024

Injured Palestinians are brought to Kuwait Hospital for treatment following Israeli attacks on Rafah City in the south of Gaza on February 15, 2024

Algeria, the Arab representative on the UN Security Council, has circulated a draft resolution demanding an immediate humanitarian cease-fire and unhindered humanitarian access to Gaza, and rejecting the forced displacement of Palestinians.

US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said the draft ‘will not be adopted’ and runs counter to Washington’s efforts to end the fighting.

‘It is critical that other parties give this process the best odds of succeeding, rather than push measures that put it – and the opportunity for an enduring resolution of hostilities – in jeopardy,’ she said.

The US has vetoed previous resolutions that had wide international support. President Joe Biden has bypassed Congress to rush arms to Israel while urging it to take greater measures to spare civilians and facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid.

The US, Qatar and Egypt have spent weeks trying to broker a cease-fire and hostage release, but there’s a wide gap between Israel and Hamas’ demands. Qatar said Saturday the talks ‘have not been progressing as expected.’

Hamas has said it will not release all remaining hostages without Israel ending the war and withdrawing from Gaza. It also demands the release of hundreds of Palestinians imprisoned by Israel, including top Hamas members.

Netanyahu has publicly rejected the demands and any scenario in which Hamas would rebuild its military and governing capabilities. He said he sent a delegation to cease-fire talks in Cairo last week at Biden’s request but doesn’t see the point in sending them again.

In an interview with Israel’s Kan public broadcaster, Netanyahu’s national security adviser Tzachi Hanegbi said military pressure and sticking to a strict line in negotiations could lead Hamas to drop its ‘absurd demands.’

Netanyahu also opposes Palestinian statehood, which the US calls a key element in broader vision for normalization of relations between Israel and regional heavyweight Saudi Arabia.

Smoke rises following an Israeli airstrike during Israeli military operation in Khan Younis on Sunday, February 18, 2024

Smoke rises following an Israeli airstrike during Israeli military operation in Khan Younis on Sunday, February 18, 2024

Palestinian children next to their tent inside the Rafah camp on February 18, 2024

Palestinian children next to their tent inside the Rafah camp on February 18, 2024

People search for victims in the rubble of the Baraka family home in Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip after it was hit in an Israeli air strike on February 18, 2024

People search for victims in the rubble of the Baraka family home in Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip after it was hit in an Israeli air strike on February 18, 2024

Temporary shelters for Internally displaced Palestinians in the Rafah camp are pictured on February 18, 2024

Temporary shelters for Internally displaced Palestinians in the Rafah camp are pictured on February 18, 2024

Palestinians search for bodies and survivors among the rubble of a house destroyed in an Israeli air strike on Deir Al Balah town on February 18, 2024

Palestinians search for bodies and survivors among the rubble of a house destroyed in an Israeli air strike on Deir Al Balah town on February 18, 2024

The Oct. 7 attack on southern Israel killed some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and took around 250 hostages.

Hamas still hold around 130 hostages, a fourth of them believed to be dead. Most of the others were released during a weeklong cease-fire in November.

The war has killed at least 28,985 Palestinians, mostly women and children, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry, which does not distinguish between civilians and combatants in its records. On Sunday it said 127 bodies were brought to hospitals in the past 24 hours.

Around 80 per cent of Gaza’s population have been driven from their homes, and a quarter face starvation.



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