AFP – The United Nations (UN) and the Red Cross voiced alarm yesterday after Israeli forces raided Gaza’s largest hospital, demanding that thousands of patients and civilians be protected.
Israeli forces entered Al-Shifa hospital, targeting what they say is a Hamas command centre in tunnels beneath patients and civilians seeking refuge 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.”
Griffiths stressed in a separate video statement that he understood Israel wanted to find Hamas leaders, but insisted that was no excuse for turning hospitals into a battlefield.
“That is as strong a statement under humanitarian law, as is the statement that the hospitals should not become a … a war zone,” he said.
“I understand the Israelis’ concern for trying to find the leadership of Hamas. That’s not our problem. Our problem is protecting the people of Gaza from what’s being visited upon them.”
Griffiths said his agency’s main concern was “for the welfare of the patients of that hospital, which is, of course, in great peril at the moment”.