Israel-Hamas war: Nasser hospital 'not functional anymore'

The World Health Organization chief demanded the evacuation of Gaza's second-largest hospital after Israel's raid. Meanwhile, Netanyahu said Israel's offensive in Rafah would go ahead

More than 68,000 people have been wounded in Gaza since October 7 according to the Health Ministry in the Hamas-controlled territory. (photo: DW)
More than 68,000 people have been wounded in Gaza since October 7 according to the Health Ministry in the Hamas-controlled territory. (photo: DW)


  • WHO chief Tedros warns patients' lives at risk after Nasser hospital siege

  • Israel denounces Brazilian president for likening Gaza offensive to Holocaust, summons ambassador

  • Netanyahu insists Israeli military offensive in Rafah will go ahead

  • Mediator Qatar says Gaza truce talks 'not very promising'

Palestinian PM warns: Don't force Gazans into Egypt

Israel must not attempt to force Palestinians in Gaza across the border into Egypt, Palestinian Authority (PA) Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh said.

"I know, and we know, that it has been an Israeli program to push people out of Gaza. We and the Egyptians have been working hard not to allow this to happen," Shtayyeh told delegates at the Munich Security Conference on Sunday.

His comments come as Israel is preparing an offensive on Gaza's southern city of Rafah, which lies on the border with Egypt.

An estimated 1.5 million Palestinians are now sheltering in the crowded area and senior diplomats and humanitarian agencies have spoken of their grave concerns if the offensive goes ahead.

Several international media outlets have reported that Egypt is constructing a reception camp on its side of the border to accommodate Palestinian refugees.

Shtayyeh also said that the Palestinian Authority, which is based in the occupied West Bank, does not maintain contacts with Hamas, which has run the Gaza Strip since 2007. The Palestinian Authority is run by the Fatah political party.

He called for the spiral of violence to be broken and said that the Palestinian issue had to be resolved.

Shtayyeh also noted that various Palestinian groups, including Fatah and Hamas, are to meet in Moscow on Thursday at Russia's invitation.

Death toll rises to 28,985 — Gaza Ministry of Health

The Gaza death toll has now reached 28,985 according to the territory's Health Ministry, an agency in the Hamas-controlled government.

Ministry officials also said a total of 68,883 Palestinians were injured in the Israeli campaign that has now been going on for over four months. Israel launched its Gaza operation after Hamas carried out terror attacks on Israel on October 7.

At least 127 Palestinians have been killed and 205 others injured in the past 24 hours, the ministry added.

The UN and multiple humanitarian organizations consider the death toll and casualty numbers to be broadly reliable.

Around half of Gaza's 2.3 million inhabitants are children and the United Nations says the majority of civilians killed have been women and children.

Gaza's second-largest hospital fully out of service

The Gaza Strip's second-largest hospital — the Nasser Hospital in the southern city of Khan Younis — is now "completely out of service", a spokesperson for the Gaza Ministry of Health says.

"There are only four medical teams, 25 staff, currently caring for patients inside the facility," inside the hospital, spokesperson Ashraf al-Qidra told the Reuters news agency.

Health officials said fighting, fuel shortages, and Israeli raids had all contributed to the situation.

The Gaza Health Ministry is part of the Hamas-controlled government in charge of Gaza.

The Israeli military said its special forces operating in and around the hospital had killed dozens of Palestinian militants.

Hospitals in the Palestinian territory have been a focal point of the war between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip.

Israel has raided medical facilities, saying that Hamas uses them to store weapons and hold hostages. Hamas denies those allegations.

Hospitals have special protections under international humanitarian law, although they can lose that protection if they are being used to cause military harm to the other side.

The United States and the European Union have listed Hamas as a terrorist organization, among others.

Netanyahu vows Rafah operation will go ahead despite international warnings

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he will not bow to pressure from allies to call off a planned offensive on Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

"Anyone who wants to prevent us from operating in Rafah is ultimately telling us 'lose the war,'" he said in a televised address on Saturday.

Netanyahu reiterated his aim of destroying Hamas militants in Gaza, saying, "the score will be settled."

G7 foreign ministers, meeting at the Munich Security Conference, Saturday expressed their "deep concern about the potentially devastating consequences of a large-scale Israeli military operation in Rafah."

In a statement, the group of industrialized nations called for "urgent action to address the catastrophic humanitarian crisis in Gaza," particularly the plight of 1.5 million civilians sheltering in Rafah.

Ensuring the "full, rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian access in all its forms to the Gaza Strip remains an absolute priority," the statement added.

Qatar talks to secure new truce 'not really promising'

Talks to agree a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza were "not very promising" in recent days, mediator Qatar has said.

Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani met with negotiators from both Israel and Hamas this week.

"The pattern in the last few days is not really very promising," he said at the Munich Security Conference.

Separately, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said demands by the Palestinian militant group Hamas during talks in Cairo were "delusional."

Those demands included ending the war and leaving Hamas as it is, freeing "thousands of murderers" from Israeli jails, and even demands regarding a flashpoint holy site in Jerusalem, he said.

Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh, meanwhile, blamed Israel for a lack of progress.

UNRWA chief Lazzarini says Israel wants to 'destroy' the agency

The head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, has accused Israel of aiming to destroy the organization.

"Right now we are dealing with an expanded, concerted campaign by Israel aimed at destroying UNRWA," Lazzarini told the Swiss newspaper group Tamedia.

"It is a long-term political goal because it is believed that if the aid agency is abolished, the status of the Palestinian refugees will be resolved once and for all — and with it, the right of return," he said. "There is a much larger political goal behind this."

"Just look at the number of actions Israel is taking against UNRWA," he said.

He cited moves to remove the agency's VAT exemption and orders for contractors at the Israeli port of Ashdod to stop handling some food deliveries for the agency.

Lazzarini said that more than 150 UNRWA installations have been hit since Israel's offensive in the Gaza Strip began.

Israel has called for Lazzarini to step down, claiming that a Hamas tunnel was discovered under UNRWA's evacuated headquarters in Gaza City.

Lazzarini said the tunnel was 20 meters below ground, an area which UNRWA did not have the capabilities to examine.

He said there was no reason for him to resign as it would "not improve the situation at UNRWA," adding that "the criticisms are not concerned with me personally, but with the organization as a whole."

"The calls for resignation are part of the campaign to destroy UNRWA," he argued.

Several countries suspended funding to UNRWA in response to Israeli allegations that some of the agency's staff took part in Hamas' attacks on October 7. Lazzarini said that "UNRWA will have to cease operations in April" if it does not acquire new donors.

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Published: 19 Feb 2024, 10:32 AM