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4 Dec, 2023 22:55

WHO asks Israel to spare Gaza warehouse

The IDF has told the World Health Organization to abandon the facility
WHO asks Israel to spare Gaza warehouse

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has notified the World Health Organization that its personnel must evacuate a medical warehouse in southern Gaza, WHO head Dr. Tedros Adhenom Ghebreyesus said on Monday. The WHO has asked the country's military to reconsider.

Israeli troops resumed operations in the Palestinian enclave on Saturday, targeting the south of Gaza after a humanitarian ceasefire with Hamas expired. 

The IDF sent the WHO a note to “remove our supplies from our medical warehouse in southern Gaza within 24 hours, as ground operations will put it beyond use,” Tedros wrote on X (formerly Twitter).

“We appeal to Israel to withdraw the order, and take every possible measure to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure, including hospitals and humanitarian facilities,” the WHO director added.

West Jerusalem declared war on Hamas almost two months ago, after the October 7 incursion by the Palestinian group that claimed the lives of an estimated 1,200 Israelis. Up to 250 were also taken captive by the militants. Some of those hostages were later released – or exchanged for Palestinian prisoners – during the “humanitarian pause” which lasted from November 24-30. 

After air and artillery strikes, Israel eventually sent ground troops into Gaza, cutting the enclave in half and blowing up the Palestinian parliament building in mid-November. 

The attack on the south will be “no less powerful” than the attack on the north, IDF Chief of Staff General Herzi Halevi said on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the head of Israeli security service Shin Bet, Ronen Bar, has vowed to hunt down every member of Hamas “everywhere, in Gaza, in the West Bank, in Lebanon, in Turkey, in Qatar,” even if it takes “years” to do so.

According to the Gaza health authority, at least 15,200 civilians have been killed as the result of Israeli operations, around 70% of them women and children. With the enclave’s healthcare system in ruins, the exact toll might be even higher, they said.