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UN relief chief says hospitals ‘aren’t battlegrounds’

Protection of newborns, patients, medical staff, all civilians ‘must override all other concerns,’ says Martin Griffiths

Nov. 15, 2023
The UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator said on Wednesday that he is “appalled” by reports of the Israeli military raid at Al-Shifa Hospital in the Gaza Strip, reports said on Wednesday.

“The protection of newborns, patients, medical staff and all civilians must override all other concerns,” Martin Griffiths, the UN relief chief said on X.

“Hospitals are not battlegrounds,” he added.

Early Wednesday the Israeli army began a raid of Al-Shifa Hospital, the largest hospital in the Gaza Strip, with 700 patients and thousands of internally displaced people inside. Israel acknowledged the move.

Israel has claimed that members of Palestinian group Hamas were using the hospital as a base, a claim denied by both Hamas and hospital officials.

Despite Al-Shifa’s status as a civilian facility, it has been bombarded by attacks in and around its grounds, and shortages of fuel and medical supplies due to Israel’s blockade have made medical care difficult at best.

As the Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip entered its 40th day, at least 11,320 Palestinians have been killed, including over 7,800 women and children, and more than 29,200 others have been injured, according to the latest figures from Palestinian authorities.

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