WHO chief sounds alarm over attacks on Gaza hospitals following Israel airstrike allegations

World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Friday that the WHO is “extremely disturbed” by reports of airstrikes near Gaza’s al-Shifa hospital, the largest in the region.

Hours earlier, the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza said the hospital was hit by Israeli Defense Force (IDF) airstrikes, killing at least one person and trapping thousands inside. The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) also alleged Friday that Israeli forces targeted Gaza’s al-Quds hospital, which they say resulted in one death and 28 injuries.

The WHO has verified over 250 attacks on the healthcare sector in Gaza and the West Bank, which included five attacks on five hospitals in one day in Gaza. Speaking on X, Ghebreyesus said that he was “extremely disturbed” by reports of airstrikes in the hospital’s vicinity, noting that in the past 48 hours alone, four hospitals had been put out of action. He emphasized:

Many health workers we were in contact with have been forced to leave the hospital in search of safety. Others report being unable to move due to grave insecurity. Many of the thousands sheltering at the hospital are forced to evacuate due to security risks, while many still remain there.

The IDF denied these allegations on X. IDF Arabic Spokesperson Avichay Adraee claimed that the strike on Al-Shifa hospital was the result of a failed rocket launch. The Head of the Coordination and Liaison Administration to Gaza, Coloniel Moshe Tetro, stated, “There is no shooting at the hospital and there is no siege. The East Side of the hospital remains open.”

These events come just days after the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the PRCS labeled IDF attacks on ambulances as war crimes.