April 18, 2024

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WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said four people were killed and 17 others wounded in the air strike.

At least four people have been killed in an Israeli air strike on the courtyard of the Al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir el-Balah in central Gaza, according to the World Health Organization and a hospital official.

At least four people were killed and 17 others were wounded in the air strike, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a post on X on Sunday.

Khaled al-Dakran, a spokesman for the hospital, said several journalists were among the wounded in the attack.

Israel’s military said the attack targeted a command centre operated by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad armed group.

The Government Media Office in Gaza said the air strike hit a tent where displaced people were sheltering and journalists were working.

Reporting from the hospital grounds, Al Jazeera’s Hind Khoudary said displaced Palestinians at the hospital were “terrified” after the attack.

“Everyone is terrified here. They have been seeking refuge inside this hospital for more than six months now,” she said.

Al-Dakran called on the international community to ensure protection for health workers in Gaza.

“Hospitals and medical teams and all health sector workers must be protected and the international community must provide such protection,” he said.

“The patients, the wounded and the displaced are in a state of panic and horror, fearing that the Israeli planes will attack the hospital again.”

WHO chief Tedros said a team with the United Nations organisation was at the hospital compound when the air strike hit and that all WHO staff were accounted for.

“We again call for protection of patients, health personnel and humanitarian missions. The ongoing attacks and militarisation of hospitals must stop. International humanitarian law must be respected,” Tedros said. “We urge parties to comply with the UN Security Council resolution and ceasefire!”

 

Reporting from Rafah, southern Gaza, Al Jazeera’s Tareq Abu Azzoum said the attack was “a new part of the Israeli ongoing attacks on journalists”.

Since October, more than 130 Palestinian journalists have been killed, he added.

Israel’s army has been carrying out attacks in and around Al-Aqsa Hospital, among other medical facilities, in Gaza.

“The command centre and terrorists were struck precisely”, the Israeli military said of Sunday’s attack, adding it was intended to minimise “harm to uninvolved civilians in the area of the hospital”.

“The Al-Aqsa Hospital building was not damaged and its functioning was not affected.”

Israeli strikes have killed 77 Palestinians in Gaza in the past 24 hours, health authorities said on Sunday.

More than 32,000 people have been killed in Israel’s war on Gaza since the war started nearly six months ago, according to Palestinian officials. The assault began after the Palestinian group Hamas led an attack from Gaza on Israel on October 7, killing 1,139 people and seizing around 250 others as captives.

Later on Sunday, mediator Egypt was set to host an Israeli delegation for talks in a bid to secure a ceasefire with Hamas and an agreement for the group to release some of the roughly 130 hostages who remain in captivity in Gaza in exchange for the release of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails.



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