News release

Israel and the occupied territories: ICRC demands protection of patients, health-care workers, medical facilities in Gaza amid escalating attacks

Gaza (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is urgently calling for the respect and protection of medical facilities, patients and health-care workers in Gaza.

Overstretched, running on thin supplies and increasingly unsafe, the health-care system in Gaza has reached a point of no return, risking the lives of thousands of wounded, sick and displaced people.    

Over the past few days, ICRC teams distributing critical supplies to medical structures across Gaza have witnessed horrendous images that have now gotten worse due to sharpened hostilities. This is severely affecting hospitals and ambulances, and taking a heavy toll on civilians, patients and medical staff.


The destruction affecting hospitals in Gaza is becoming unbearable and needs to stop. The lives of thousands of civilians, patients and medical staff are at risk

William Schomburg, head of the ICRC's sub-delegation in Gaza


Children’s hospitals have not been spared from the violence, including Al Nasser Hospital, heavily damaged by the hostilities, and Al Rantisi Hospital, which has had to cease its operations.

Our partner, the Palestine Red Crescent Society, has been working relentlessly to continue operating the Al Quds Hospital, becoming desperate as it runs out of the necessary means, amidst increasing hostilities.

Al Shifa Medical Complex, the largest referral hospital in the Gaza Strip, already overwhelmed with patients, now also hosts thousands of displaced families who lost their homes over the last month due to the conflict. Any military operation around hospitals must consider the presence of civilians, who are protected under international humanitarian law.  

Attacks on medical facilities and personnel deal a heavy blow to the health-care system in Gaza, which is severely weakened after more than a month of heavy fighting.

The rules of war are clear. Hospitals are specially protected facilities under international humanitarian law. The ICRC urgently calls for the immediate protection of all civilians, including humanitarian workers and medical personnel. This protection is not only a legal obligation but a moral imperative to preserve human life in these terrible times. 


About the ICRC

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is a neutral, impartial and independent organization with an exclusively humanitarian mandate that stems from the Geneva Conventions of 1949. It helps people around the world affected by armed conflict and other violence, doing everything it can to protect their lives and dignity and to relieve their suffering, often alongside its Red Cross and Red Crescent partners. 

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