Israel-Hamas war: Nasser hospital in Gaza ‘not functional’, says WHO chief

United States set to veto UN vote calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire

The head of the World Health Organisation (WHO) said Nasser hospital in Khan Younis in Gaza is no longer functioning due to the Israeli army’s “week-long siege followed by the ongoing raid”.

In a post on X, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said there are about 200 patients in the hospital, of which at least 20 need to be urgently referred to receive care elsewhere.

“The cost of delays will be paid by patients’ lives. Access to the patients and hospital should be facilitated,” he wrote.

The Gaza Strip’s second-largest hospital has been put “completely out of service”, a spokesman for the Hamas-controlled Gaza health ministry said on Sunday.


“There are only four medical teams – 25 staff – currently caring for patients” inside the Nasser hospital in Khan Younis, Ashraf al-Qidra told Reuters.

Intense fighting raged last week around the Nasser hospital. The Israel Defence Force said troops entered the hospital on Thursday, acting on what it said was “credible intelligence” that hostages seized on October 7th had been held there.

The UN criticised the raid while medical staff reported on Thursday that the hospital was hit directly by tank fire. The power was cut and the generators stopped after the raid, leading to the deaths of six patients due to a lack of oxygen, according to the health ministry.

The UN security council is likely to vote on Tuesday on an Algerian push to demand an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Israel’s war in Gaza, diplomats told Reuters.

However, the US ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said the text could jeopardise negotiations aimed at brokering a pause in the war.

“The United States does not support action on this draft resolution. Should it come up for a vote as drafted, it will not be adopted,” she said in a statement on Saturday.

To be adopted, a UN security council resolution needs at least nine votes in favour and no vetoes by the United States, Britain, France, China or Russia.

On Sunday, Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s cabinet unanimously approved a declaration submitted by Mr Netanyahu rejecting any “international diktat” regarding a permanent arrangement with the Palestinians.

Any arrangement will be achieved only by direct negotiations between the parties, without preconditions, and Israel will continue to oppose the unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state, according to the declaration.

The declaration echoed comments made by Mr Netanyahu following a call with US president Joe Biden on Friday.

The standstill comes as international fears grow that Israel is poised to launch a military assault on Rafah, the southern Gaza city where more than one million Palestinians have taken refuge from fighting further north.

Mr Biden and other world leaders have urged Mr Netanyahu to hold off on an attack until a plan is in place to ensure the safety of civilians.

The Israeli prime minister on Saturday insisted Israeli forces would press ahead with the Rafah offensive, saying those who were critical of it were effectively telling the country to “lose the war” against Hamas.

He also indicated that troops would go in regardless of whether a hostage release is agreed. “Even if we achieve it, we will enter Rafah,” he told a televised news conference.

Mediator Qatar acknowledged on Saturday that prospects for a new pause in Israel’s war in Gaza were “not really promising”.

Qatari prime minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, who met negotiators from both Israel and Hamas this week, said in Munich, Germany, that efforts for a ceasefire had been complicated by the insistence of “a lot of countries” that any new truce involve further releases of hostages.

A total of 28,985 Palestinians have been killed and 68,883 others injured in Israeli strikes on Gaza since October 7th, 2023, the Gaza health ministry said in a statement on Sunday. – Guardian