Dr. Tedros Adhenom Ghebreyesus, the head of the World Health Organization, announced last week that he “strongly condemns” the attack on the Gaza hospital that resulted in the deaths of hundreds seeking refuge at treatment amid an Israeli bombardment.
Both Israel and Hamas have traded blame for the strike on Gaza City’s Al Ahli Arab Hospital that killed more than 470 civilians on Tuesday. The UN noted that the strike reportedly followed two warnings from Israel that an attack on the hospital was imminent.
Tedros called for the immediate protection of Palestinians and also called for Israel’s evacuation orders in Gaza, which have been criticized as unrealistic and a near-certain human catastrophe, to be reversed.
The UN also said it was outraged by a separate deadly strike on a “school located in Al Maghazi refugee camp that sheltered some 4000 displaced people, as well as two densely populated refugee camps.” See:
● “GAZA STRIKES BACK” (17 Oct 2023)
The attack on the hospital seemed to add fuel to the fire that was already burning in the Muslim world after Israel started to bomb Gaza.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish president, said targeting a hospital filled with women, children, and innocent civilians “is the latest example of Israel’s attacks devoid of the most basic human values. I invite all humanity to take action to stop this unprecedented brutality in Gaza.”
The hospital described itself on its website as “a haven of peace in the middle of one of the world’s most troubled places,” according to Reuters.
The report said more than 1 million Gazans have fled their homes and about 60 percent of them are currently located in a designated evacuation zone. It is believed that Israeli forces are preparing for a ground offensive in the city.
Dr. Fadil Naim, the head of the orthopedics department, told NPR that he was working inside the hospital when the blast occurred. He said civilians thought that the hospital “was the safest place in Gaza.”
He said he rushed out to find people in the courtyard dead and with lost limbs.
“Some of them died in our hands,” he said.
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The WHO reported that the facility was one of 20 in the north of the Gaza Strip that was told to evacuate, which is “impossible” given the “current insecurity, critical condition of many patients, and lack of ambulances, staff, health system bed capacity, and alternative shelter for those displaced.”
“Evacuation orders must be reversed. International humanitarian law must be abided by, which means health care must be actively protected and never targeted,” the WHO statement read.
Indeed, Dr. Ahmed Al-Mandhari, the Middle East regional director of the WHO, told The New York Times that Israel told the hospitals to evacuate, which he said was completely unrealistic. The Israeli military has not denied calling the hospital but insisted that the reason for the call was not about any looming air strike, but rather the general push to evacuate the region.
President Joe Biden, who visited Israel shortly after news of the hospital strike, said U.S. intelligence pins blame on Hamas for the hospital disaster.
He was asked by a reporter on Air Force One if he had a message for anyone who does not believe U.S. and Israeli intelligence. Biden said he could understand the doubt, but he said he was confident in his sources.
“I’m not suggesting that Hamas deliberately did it either,” he said. “It’s that old thing, you gotta know how to shoot straight.”