War in Gaza: WHO Declares Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza a Dead Zone and Calls for Complete Evacuation

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Sunday, November 19, that Gaza’s largest hospital has become a “dead zone.”

The assessment was issued after WHO and other UN officials visited the hospital, which Israeli forces raided earlier this week in pursuit of Hamas militants.

Hamas health officials said more than 80 people were killed Saturday in twin attacks on refugee camps in northern Gaza, including a UN school sheltering displaced people.

The Israeli military said it was examining “incidents that occurred in the Jabalia area,” without mentioning airsPhilip Lazarini, head of the UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, described “horrific images” of the incident and called the bombing a “war crime” and a “deliberate insult to the UN” by Egypt.

Hamas health officials said that another attack on Saturday in another building in the Jabalia camp killed 32 members of the same family, 19 of whom were children.

Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas in response to the October 7 attack. Israeli officials said the attack killed about 1,200 people, most of them civilians, and took about 240 hostages.

The Hamas government, which has ruled Gaza since 2007, says that since then, relentless military airstrikes and ground operations have killed 12,300 people, more than 5,000 of them children.

According to the UN, six weeks of fighting have forced some 1.6 million people to flee their homes in the Gaza Strip, and Israel said Saturday that its military is now “expanding its operational activities in additional areas of the Gaza Strip.”

The Israeli military claims that Hamas is using the hospital as a command center, but Hamas and its medical staff deny the claim.

On Sunday, WHO said a UN assessment team arrived at the hospital and found a mass grave at the entrance and a “death zone” with 25 medical personnel and nearly 300 patients stranded in the hospital.

WHO and its partners are urgently developing an immediate evacuation plan for the remaining patients, staff and their families,” WHO said, but warned that nearby facilities are already overstretched

The WHO urged an immediate ceasefire, given the “extreme suffering of the people of Gaza.”

On Saturday, hundreds of people were evacuated on foot from the hospital on orders from the Israeli army.

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