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Israel Has Killed Hundreds of Health Care Workers in Gaza Since October 7

An Israeli airstrike on a hospital in Rafah on Monday killed at least two hospital workers.

A view of a wrecked ambulance is seen as Palestinian families return their homes after Israeli forces' withdrawal from parts of Khan Yunis, Gaza on April 7, 2024.

Israeli forces have injured and killed hundreds of health care workers in Gaza since October, according to reporting from the World Health Organization (WHO).

Israel has targeted health care facilities at least 450 times since October 7, the United Nations (U.N.) agency said. Those attacks and others have killed at least 723 health workers and injured another 924, per WHO’s report.

The attacks have severely impacted health care workers’ ability to treat people who desperately need medical treatment as Israel rains bombs on Gaza, blowing off children’s limbs, burning displaced people alive, and destroying virtually all of Gaza’s health and sanitation infrastructure. All the while, Israel has imposed a brutal blockade on humanitarian aid in the region, forcing millions of Palestinians to face imminent starvation and the rapid spread of disease in dangerously overcrowded and unsanitary displacement camps.

No hospital in Gaza is currently operating at full capacity, WHO reported. The Kuwait Hospital in Rafah, for example, was completely shut down on Monday after an Israeli airstrike near its entrance killed at least two health care workers.

Israeli strikes on Rafah also killed at least 45 Palestinians — many of whom were children — who were sheltering in a displacement camp in Rafah on Sunday. Another 249 were wounded, many critically, including people with severed limbs and severe burns. The strike occurred less than a mile from a Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) medical facility.

“We are horrified by this deadly event, which shows once again that nowhere is safe,” the organization said in a social media post.

Witnesses reported horrific scenes from the weekend’s attacks, recounting charred bodies, a child who had been decapitated by the explosion, and a medic carrying a person whose brains had been blown out.

“We had to recover dismembered limbs and dead children,” said Layan al-Fayoum, a young Palestinian teenager who survived the massacre.

Abo Sebah, a resident of the displacement camp who fled central Gaza in January after Israeli forces killed three of his children and his grandchild, said the strike was aimed at furthering Israel’s ethnic cleansing campaign, noting:

We have never seen any resistance fighters here. The fighters are in the combat zones in eastern Rafah. The Israelis just say these things to justify their actions. They want to kill the Palestinian people, forcibly expel them, and destroy their homes.

Even amid international outcry over the massacre, Israeli forces appear to be intensifying their attacks in Rafah, as tanks have reportedly entered the city, nearing its center.

Israel’s bloody siege of Rafah, which started earlier this month, has forced nearly a million Palestinians to flee once again after Israel lured them to the city under the pretense that it was a “safe zone.”

“There are a lot of attacks, smoke and dust,” one resident told Reuters. “It is death from God…The [Israelis] are hitting everywhere. We’re tired.”

Israeli forces have continued their attacks even after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered Israel to stop its assault on the city. Though the order is legally binding, the ICJ has no enforcement mechanism to force countries to abide by their decrees, and before the ruling was issued on Friday, Israeli leaders had said they would defy any order handed down by the international body.

Since the start of Israel’s genocidal bombing and starvation campaign in October, Israeli forces have killed more than 36,000 Palestinians in Gaza — 15,000 of whom were children — and injured over 80,000 others. The death toll is likely to be much higher than currently documented, as thousands of people are missing and presumed to be buried under the rubble.

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