The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Sunday that the al-Shifa hospital, the largest in Gaza, has stopped functioning and the number of deaths among patients has risen sharply, amid a fierce Israeli offensive in the Hamas-controlled territory.
The WHO said it was able to contact health workers at al-Shifa, who reported a “dire and perilous” situation with constant shelling and shooting worsening the already critical condition, as Israeli forces have surrounded the hospital and other medical facilities in the north of the strip.
Israel claims it is targeting Palestinian Hamas militants who carried out deadly attacks in southern Israel on Oct. 7, and says the group has hidden its command centers under and near the hospitals.
The WHO’s Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a post on X, a social media platform formerly known as Twitter, that al-Shifa was “not functioning as a hospital anymore”.
“Tragically, the number of patient fatalities has increased significantly,” he said.
He added that three newborns had died and more were at risk from power outages amid intense fighting nearby, according to medical staff.
Tedros joined other senior United Nations officials in calling for an immediate ceasefire.
“The world cannot stand silent while hospitals, which should be safe havens, are transformed into scenes of death, devastation, and despair,” he said.