UN, Aid Groups Decry Israeli Forces Raid on Gaza’s Al Shifa Hospital


Clarion India

UNITED NATIONS – The United Nations and the Red Cross voiced alarm after Israeli forces raided Gaza’s largest hospital, demanding that thousands of patients and civilians be protected, reported TRT World.

Israeli forces entered Al Shifa hospital on Wednesday, targeting what they say is a Hamas command centre in tunnels beneath patients and the civilians seeking refuge there from intense combat.

“I’m appalled by reports of military raids in Al Shifa hospital in Gaza,” UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths said on X, formerly Twitter.


“The protection of newborns, patients, medical staff and all civilians must override all other concerns.

Israel’s mission to the UN in Geneva lashed out Griffiths, linking his comments to a meeting he held in the Swiss city on Wednesday with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.

“Did you tweet this before or after you met with the Iranian foreign minister this morning? Did you call on him to stop funding and arming a terrorist organisation using hospitals to hide?” it said on X.

“Iran does not care about the people of Gaza. The UN needs to stop being used as pawns in Iran’s desire for death and destruction.”

‘Hospitals are not battlegrounds’

Israel vowed to crush Hamas after the Palestinian resistance group launched unprecedented attacks that Israel says left 1,200 people dead with another 239 taken hostage.

The Health Ministry in Gaza says Israel’s ensuing air and ground offensive has killed 11,320 people, mostly civilians, including thousands of children.

The United Nations estimates that at least 2,300 people – patients, staff and displaced civilians are inside and may be unable to escape because of fierce fighting.

Al-Shifa is a key objective in Israel’s campaign.

Witnesses have described horrific conditions inside the hospital, with medical procedures taking place without anaesthetic, families with scant food or water living in corridors and the stench of decomposing corpses filling the air.

Griffiths stressed in a separate video statement on Wednesday that he understood Israel wanted to find Hamas leaders, but insisted that was no excuse for turning hospitals into a battlefield.

“Hamas must not, should not, use a place like a hospital as a shield for their presence,” he said.

Extremely concerned about Patients’

Griffiths said his UN humanitarian agency’s main concern was “for the welfare of the patients of that hospital, which is, of course, in great peril at the moment”.

“We have no fuel to run it. The babies have no incubators, newly born. Some are dead already. We can’t move them out. It’s too dangerous,” he said.

World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the agency had lost touch again with staff at the hospital.

“We’re extremely worried for their and their patients’ safety.”

The International Committee of the Red Cross said it was “extremely concerned about the impact on sick and wounded people, medical staff, and civilians”.

“All measures to avoid any consequences on them must be taken,” the ICRC said, insisting that “patients, medical staff, and civilians must be at all times protected”.

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