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WHO chief urges Israel to stop ground assault on Rafah

Xinhua | Updated: 2024-03-17 04:19
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A Palestinian girl cries as she assists an injured man outside Al-Najjar Hospital in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, following Israeli strikes on March 13. [Photo/Agencies]

GENEVA -- The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) on Saturday called on Israel to halt its ground assault on Rafah, the southernmost city in Gaza, saying 1.2 million people there have nowhere safe to go.

"I'm gravely concerned about reports of an Israeli plan to proceed with a ground assault on Rafah," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

"Further escalation of violence in this densely populated area would lead to many more deaths and suffering, especially with health facilities already overwhelmed," he added.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu approved plans on Friday for an attack on Rafah, where about 1.5 million Palestinian refugees are seeking shelter.

The global health agency appealed to Israel not to proceed with the military operation, and instead work toward peace "in the name of humanity."

This humanitarian catastrophe must not be allowed to worsen, Tedros said.

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