WHO voices alarm at swelling West Bank health crisis

The World Health Organization decried Friday an escalating health crisis in the occupied West Bank, where growing restrictions, violence and attacks on health infrastructure are increasingly obstructing access to care.

In a statement, the U.N. health agency said it was calling "for the immediate and active protection of civilians and health care in the West Bank".

It noted that a spike in violence in the West Bank, including in East Jerusalem, since the war in Gaza erupted on Oct. 7 had by June 10 left 521 Palestinians dead, including 126 children.

Palestinian officials have put the West Bank death toll even higher, saying at least 545 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli troops or settlers since the Gaza war broke out.

In addition to the deaths, more than 5,200 people — 800 of them children — have been injured, the WHO said, stressing that this only added to "the growing burden of trauma and emergency care at already strained health facilities".

The West Bank, which Israel has occupied since 1967, has experienced a surge in violence for more than a year, but especially since the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza erupted more than eight months ago.

That war began after Hamas's unprecedented Oct. 7 attack on Israel, which resulted in the deaths of 1,194 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli official figures.

The militants also seized 251 hostages. Of these, 116 remain in Gaza, although the army says 41 are dead.

Israel's retaliatory offensive has killed at least 37,266 people in Gaza, also mostly civilians, according to the territory's health ministry.

The war has repeatedly seen health facilities in the Gaza Strip come under attack.

And the WHO said Friday that...

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