A group of United Nations humanitarian workers visited the Al-Shifa hospital in northern Gaza on Saturday, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said in a post on X.
The group spent one hour inside the hospital during which time there was heavy fighting in close proximity to the facility, the WHO said.
UN staff described the hospital as a “death zone” where “signs of shelling and gunfire” were evident.
“The team saw a mass grave at the entrance of the hospital and was told more than 80 people were buried there,” it said.
The WHO said that several patients had died over the past two to three days due to the lack of medical services.
“There are 25 health workers and 291 patients remaining in Al-Shifa, with several patient deaths having occurred over the previous two to three days due to the shutting down of medical services,” it said.
It added: “Patients include 32 babies in extremely critical condition, two people in intensive care without ventilation, and 22 dialysis patients whose access to life-saving treatment has been severely compromised.”
Staff and patients who spoke to UN workers were “terrified for their safety and health,” WHO said, adding that they “pleaded for evacuation.”
The WHO says it is “urgently developing plans” to evacuate staff and patients to two hospitals in southern Gaza.
“The vast majority of patients are victims of war trauma, including many with complex fractures and amputations, head injuries, burns, chest and abdominal trauma, and 29 patients with serious spinal injuries who are unable to move without medical assistance,” WHO said.
“Many trauma patients have severely infected wounds due to lack of infection control measures in the hospital and unavailability of antibiotics.”
Some context: Israel launched a “targeted” operation against Hamas early Wednesday morning inside Gaza’s largest hospital, where thousands of displaced Palestinians had been sheltering alongside patients and medical staff.
Israel claims Hamas is using the hospital complex for military purposes and has built a command center under the facility – allegations repeatedly rejected by both Hamas and hospital officials. CNN has not verified the claims of either Israel or Hamas.
The intervening days have seen the hospital turn from civilian sanctuary to battlefield with heavy fighting taking place in and around the complex, amid an already rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation.
Israel is facing mounting international pressure to prove its claims about Hamas’ infiltration of the hospital, in order to justify some of its military decisions, which could otherwise constitute a possible serious violation of international humanitarian law.