Airstrikes on ambulances leave 15 dead in Gaza

Palestinian officials say Israeli missiles have struck two ambulances, leaving 15 people dead and more than 60 wounded.

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society and other sources said on Friday that two ambulances were attacked near the Al-Shifa Hospital, one of the largest hospitals in the Gaza Strip.

A convoy of five ambulances reportedly left the hospital at a little past 4 p.m. on Friday and headed for the Rafah crossing with Egypt to evacuate patients.

However, a large amount of debris and rocks in the road forced the convoy to turn back about 4 kilometers from the hospital. The lead vehicle came under attack on the way back.

Sources say the remaining four vehicles continued on, but one was struck at the gates of the hospital.

The Israeli military said in a statement that it had identified and hit an ambulance "being used by a Hamas terrorist cell." It claimed that intelligence indicates that Hamas is transferring militants and weapons in ambulances.

A Hamas official called allegations that its fighters were present "baseless."

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a social media post that he was "utterly shocked by reports of attacks on ambulances evacuating patients." He stressed that patients, medical staff, facilities and ambulances must be protected at all times.

Health authorities in Gaza say that the hostilities that started on October 7 have left 9,257 people dead in Gaza, of whom 3,826 were children. At least 1,400 have been killed in Israel. The combined death toll has topped 10,600, with heavy civilian casualties.