The World Health Organization on Saturday "strongly" condemned Israel's repeated orders for evacuation of hospitals in northern Gaza.
The WHO "strongly condemns Israel's repeated orders for the evacuation of 22 hospitals treating more than 2,000 inpatients in northern Gaza," the organization said in a statement.
It stressed that forced evacuation of patients and health workers will further "worsen the current humanitarian and public health catastrophe."
"Forcing more than 2,000 patients to relocate to southern Gaza, where health facilities are already running at maximum capacity and unable to absorb a dramatic rise in the number patients, could be tantamount to a death sentence," the UN health agency warned.
The lives of many critically ill and fragile patients hang in the balance and they would face imminent deterioration of their condition or death if they are forced to move and are cut off from life-saving medical attention while being evacuated, it added.
Additionally, the WHO said the health facilities in northern Gaza continue to receive an influx of injured patients and are struggling to operate beyond maximum capacity.
It called on Israel to "immediately reverse" evacuation orders to hospitals in northern Gaza and urged the protection of health facilities, health workers, patients, and civilians.
The UN health agency also reiterated its call for the immediate and safe delivery of medical supplies, fuel, clean water, food, and other humanitarian aid into Gaza through the Rafah crossing, where life-saving assistance- including WHO health supplies that arrived earlier Saturday- is currently awaiting entry.
In a dramatic escalation of Middle East tensions, Israeli forces a week ago launched a sustained and forceful military campaign against the Gaza Strip, a response to a military offensive by the Palestinian group Hamas in Israeli territories.
The conflict began last Saturday when Hamas initiated Operation Al-Aqsa Flood against Israel, a multi-pronged surprise attack including a barrage of rocket launches and infiltrations into Israel via land, sea, and air.
Hamas said the operation was in retaliation for the storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem and Israeli settlers' growing violence against Palestinians.
The Israeli military then launched Operation Swords of Iron against Hamas targets within the Gaza Strip.
Israel's response has extended into cutting water and electricity supplies to Gaza, further worsening the living conditions in an area that has endured a crippling siege since 2007, as well as ordering over 1 million Gazans in the northern strip to evacuate to the southern strip within 24 hours.