The World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday voiced concern over the Isreali detention of a medical rescue convoy in the Gaza Strip, citing the death of a patient during an evacuation delayed by troops who also detained and abused a Red Crescent staff member. The WHO mission was aimed at delivering critical medical supplies and aiding in the transfer of patients.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in a post to X, said a WHO-led mission to to deliver supplies and evacuate patients from the last partially operational hospital in northern Gaza was halted in both directions by Israeli authorities.

“We are deeply concerned about prolonged checks and detention of health workers that put lives of already fragile patients at risk,” Tedros said.

The UN convoy, transporting the WHO team, underwent an inspection at the Wadi Gaza checkpoint. The ambulance crew members were required to leave their vehicles for identification purposes.

Two Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) staff members were detained for over an hour. One of the detained individuals was forced to kneel at gunpoint, harassed, beaten, stripped, and searched away from public view.

As the convoy entered Gaza City, bullets struck an aid truck carrying essential medical supplies and an ambulance.

On the way back to southern Gaza with patients from Al-Ahli Hospital, the convoy was again halted at the Wadi Gaza checkpoint. PRCS staff and most patients were forced to leave the ambulances for security checks, and critically injured patients remaining in the ambulances were subjected to searches by armed soldiers.

One of the previously detained PRCS staff members faced a second round of interrogation. Despite numerous attempts to secure his release, it took over two and a half hours, which blocked the transfer of patients.

During the transfer process, one of the injured patients from Al-Ahli Hospital succumbed to untreated wounds.

Following joint UN efforts, the detained PRCS staff member was released later. In a meeting, he recounted harassment, beatings, threats, and degrading treatment. Even after release, he had to walk towards the south with hands still tied, without clothes or shoes.

Meanwhile, Irael has launched an airstrike on Rafah, an area designated for safety.

Palestinians killed by Isreali forces since 7 October have now reached 18,200. Over 270 Palestinians have been killed in Isreali raids in the occupied West Bank.

In Isreal, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is facing criticism for conducting a political campaign during wartime, prompting opposition leader Yair Lapid to call for alternative leadership. Netanyahu’s reported comments linking the Oslo accords to the attacks on 7 October have stirred political pushback, with concerns growing over potential vulnerabilities for the Prime Minister after the war ends.