Over 200 attacks registered in health sector in Gaza: WHO

The World Health Organization on Tuesday (December 5, 2023) said it has recorded 203 attacks on medical facilities and health workers in the Gaza Strip between October 7 to November 28.

 Displaced people walk from the north of Gaza towards the south, as ambulances head in the other direction. Photo Courtesy: UNRWA/Ashraf Amra

In its X post, the health organization said: “About 1.9 million people, nearly 80% of Gaza’s population, are estimated to be internally displaced. Recent evacuation orders cover 20% of Khan Younis and localities east of Khan Younis, which prior to the hostilities were home to nearly 117 000 and 352 000 people, respectively.”

“In less than 60 days, the number of functioning hospitals has dropped from 36 to 18. Of these, three are only providing basic first aid, while the remaining hospitals are delivering only partial services. Those able to admit patients are delivering services well over their intended capacities, with some treating two to three times as many patients as they were designed for. The 12 hospitals that are still operational in the south are now the backbone of the health system,” WHO said.

WHO said: “From 7 October to 28 November, WHO recorded an unprecedented number of attacks on health care: 203 attacks on hospitals, ambulances, medical supplies, and the detention of health-care workers. This is unacceptable. There are means to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure, and they should be instituted.”

Hamas launched a large-scale rocket attack against Israel from the Gaza Strip and breached the border on October 7.

In response to the October 7 attacks, Israel launched retaliatory strikes and ordered a complete blockade of Gaza, cutting off supplies of water, food, and fuel.

Israel launched a ground incursion into the Gaza Strip on October 27 with the declared goal of eliminating Hamas fighters and rescuing the hostages.

Qatar mediated a deal between Israel and Hamas on a temporary truce on November 24 and the exchange of some of the prisoners and hostages occurred over the next few days.

During the period, humanitarian aid was also delivered to the Gaza Strip.

After extending for several days, the truce ended on December 1 and Israeli military resumed fighting against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, saying the group had violated the humanitarian pause.