WHO confirms hundreds are dead from an attack on a Gaza hospital, reiterates call for Israel to reverse evacuation order

An attack on a hospital in the north end of the Gaza strip Tuesday left hundreds dead and injured, according to World Health Organization officials.

Beyond that vague assessment, there is little agreement, however. Palestinian officials have separately said it was an Israeli airstrike, while the Israel Defense Forces say that intelligence traces the attack to a failed Palestinian Islamic Jihad rocket.

The WHO does not investigate the source of such attacks and therefore did not draw a conclusion as to its origin, its officials said at an emergency Tuesday press conference.

Estimates of casualties at the Al Ahli Arab Hospital vary by news outlet and range between 200, according to CNN, and 500, according to The New York Times.

The hospital was operational, according to the WHO, “with patients, health and caregivers, and internally displaced people sheltering there.”

It was one of 20 hospitals in the north end of the Gaza strip facing evacuation orders from the Israeli military—an order the WHO and other agencies have said is impossible to carry out, due to insecurity in the area, the critical condition of many patients, a lack of ambulances, and a lack of alternative shelter.

Evacuation orders must be reversed, the WHO reiterated Tuesday in a statement sent to press.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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