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WHO Says Destroying Al-Shifa Hospital Means 'Ripping Heart Out Of Health System' In Gaza

02.04.2024 12:42

Spokeswoman says hospital director told UN agency that 'hospital is gone', 'no longer able to function in any shape or form as hospital'

The World Health Organization on Tuesday warned that the destruction of the Al-Shifa hospital by Israeli forces means "ripping the heart out of the health system" in Gaza.

"Over what was an Easter break for many people in the world there were horrific levels of violence continuing in Gaza and we saw that the Al-Shifa hospital is now in ruins," WHO spokesperson Margaret Harris told a UN press briefing in Geneva.

Noting that the UN agency had contact with the staff in the hospital, Harris said: "The director has told us that Al-Shifa hospital is gone. It's no longer able to function in any shape or form as a hospital."

"Destroying Al-Shifa means ripping the heart out of the health system," she lamented as Gaza lost the largest hospital in the strip.

She added that the WHO is hoping to get a mission up there to see what it can do to help. However, the spokeswoman said that she does not know whether the agency has permitted such a mission yet.

Earlier on Monday, Israel announced that it had withdrawn from the Gaza Strip's largest health complex, Al-Shifa Hospital, and its surroundings after its two-week-long raids there which had begun on March 18.

Israel has waged a military offensive on the Gaza Strip since an Oct. 7 cross-border attack by Hamas which killed some 1,200 people.

Nearly 32,800 Palestinians have since been killed besides causing mass destruction, displacement, and conditions of famine.

Israel has imposed a crippling blockade on the Gaza Strip, leaving its population, particularly residents of northern Gaza, on the verge of starvation.

Accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice, Israel has been ordered to ensure "unhindered provision" of urgent aid to Gaza. The court said, "Palestinians in Gaza are no longer facing only a risk of famine ... but that famine is setting in." -

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