Israel-Gaza updates: Nasser Hospital no longer 'functional,' WHO chief says

Israel Defense Forces turned the hospital into military barracks.

Last Updated: February 19, 2024, 4:11 AM EST

More than four months since Hamas terrorists invaded Israel on Oct. 7, the Israeli military continues its bombardment of the neighboring Gaza Strip.

The conflict, now the deadliest between the warring sides since Israel's founding in 1948, shows no signs of letting up soon and the brief cease-fire that allowed for over 100 hostages to be freed from Gaza remains a distant memory.

Click here for updates from previous days.

Mar 01, 2024, 6:03 AM EST

What we know about the conflict

The latest outbreak of war between Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that governs the Gaza Strip, has passed the four-month mark.

In the Gaza Strip, at least 30,228 people have been killed and 71,377 others have been wounded by Israeli forces since Oct. 7, according to Gaza's Hamas-controlled Ministry of Health.

In Israel, at least 1,200 people have been killed and 6,900 others have been injured by Hamas and other Palestinian militants since Oct. 7, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

There has also been a surge in violence in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Israeli forces have killed at least 395 people in the territory since Oct. 7, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

The ongoing war began after Hamas-led militants launched an unprecedented incursion into southern Israel from neighboring Gaza via land, sea and air. Scores of people were killed while more than 200 others were taken hostage, according to Israeli authorities. The Israeli military subsequently launched retaliatory airstrikes followed by a ground invasion of Gaza, a 140-square-mile territory where more than 2 million Palestinians have lived under a blockade imposed by Israel and supported by Egypt since Hamas came to power in 2007. Gaza, unlike Israel, has no air raid sirens or bomb shelters.

Feb 18, 2024, 4:01 PM EST

Medicine for hostages, weapons found at Nasser Hospital, IDF says

The Israel Defense Forces said Sunday that boxes of medicine intended for Israeli hostages, a large number of weapons and a vehicle belonging to a kibbutz that was attacked by Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7 were found during a raid at Nasser Hospital in the southern Gaza Strip.

The IDF said its soldiers located "medicines specifically designated for the Israeli hostages in Gaza, large quantities of weapons and a vehicle belonging to Kibbutz Nir Oz" during its operations in Nasser Hospital in the city of Khan Younis.

The IDF said it also apprehended "hundreds of terrorists and other suspects who were hiding in the Nasser Hospital, some posing as medical staff."

"Boxes of medicine were found with the names of Israeli hostages on them. The packages of medicine that were found were sealed and had not been transferred to the hostages," the IDF said.

-ABC Edward Szekeres

Feb 18, 2024, 4:00 PM EST

Brazilian president's comments prompt angry response from Israeli officials

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has prompted the fury of Israeli officials by comparing Israel's war against Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip to the Nazi genocide during World War II.

"What is happening in the Gaza Strip with the Palestinian people has no parallel in other historical moments. In fact, it did exist when Hitler decided to kill the Jews," Lula said at a news conference Sunday at the 37th African Union Summit in Addis Ababa.

Lula also condemned the suspension of humanitarian aid to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency in Gaza, calling for an investigation into what he described as "genocide."

"It's not a war between soldiers and soldiers. It's a war between a highly prepared army and women and children," Lula said.

The UNRWA is facing criticism and financial strain after Israel claimed 12 of the group's staff members in Gaza were implicated in Hamas' Oct. 7 attack on Israel. The allegations prompted the United States, Germany, the European Union and other countries to suspend funding for the UNRWA.

Lula's comments led to a swift and angry response from Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu, who issued a statement calling Lula's remarks "disgraceful and grave." Netanyahu condemned Lula for "this trivialization of the Holocaust."

"Drawing comparisons between Israel and the Nazis and Hitler is to cross a red line," Netanyahu said, adding in a separate statement that Lula "has disgraced the memory of the 6 million Jews murdered by the Nazis, and demonized the Jewish state like the most virulent anti-Semite."

-ABC News' Yael Benaya, Jordana Miller and Aicha El Hammar

Feb 18, 2024, 5:59 AM EST

Gaza's Nasser Hospital no longer 'functional,' WHO chief says

Nasser Hospital "is not functional anymore" after Israeli forces raided the facility in the southern Gaza Strip on Thursday, the head of the World Health Organization said.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the head of the U.N. health agency, said a WHO team was not allowed to enter the facility in the city of Khan Younis on Friday or Saturday "to assess the conditions of the patients and critical medical needs, despite reaching the hospital compound to deliver fuel alongside partners."

PHOTO: A woman rests next to a damaged building, as Palestinian arrive in Rafah after they were evacuated from Nasser hospital in Khan Younis due to the Israeli ground operation in the southern Gaza Strip, Feb. 15, 2024.
A woman rests next to a damaged building, as Palestinian arrive in Rafah after they were evacuated from Nasser hospital in Khan Younis due to the Israeli ground operation, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in the southern Gaza Strip, Feb. 15, 2024.
Mohammed Salem/Reuters

There are still about 200 patients in the hospital, including 20 who need urgent referrals to other hospitals, the WHO chief said in a statement on X.

Israel says it has apprehended about 100 suspected terrorists in the hospital, including 20 who it says participated in Hamas' Oct. 7 attack. The military says it is looking for the remains of hostages inside the facility and does not target doctors or patients.

Gaza’s Health Ministry said a large number of medical staff were arrested by the Israel Defense Forces that turned the facility into military barracks. The facility is Gaza's largest remaining operating hospital and the strip's second-largest hospital.

-ABC News' Edward Szekeres

Feb 17, 2024, 1:12 PM EST

100 people arrested at Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis

A large number of Nasser Hospital medical staff were arrested by the Israel Defense Forces, which turned the facility into military barracks, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.

The IDF said it apprehended 100 people "suspected of terrorist activity" in the hospital so far.

-ABC News' Emma Ogao and Yael Benaya

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