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Dhaka Tribune

Gaza City hospitals cut off by Israel's war on Hamas

  • Al-Shifa Hospital staff have reported continued fighting
  • Several hundred foreign nationals and some injured Palestinians have been allowed to leave through the Rafah crossing
Update : 12 Nov 2023, 11:04 PM

Major hospitals in north Gaza remained cut off by Israel's onslaught against Hamas on Sunday, while at the largest a Palestinian official said three premature babies had died and dozens more were at risk from lack of power.

Al Shifa and other hospitals in north Gaza, the focus of Israel's month-old war to wipe out the fighters, were barely able to care for patients, medical staff said.

More people are killed and wounded daily by Israeli bombardment but there are fewer and fewer places for the injured to go.

Speaking from inside Al Shifa, Gaza health ministry spokesperson Ashraf Al-Qidra said Israeli fire was "terrorizing medical officials and civilians alike."

Israel's chief military spokesperson, Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, said on Saturday Israel's military would help evacuate babies from the hospital at the request of staff there. Al-Qidra said that of 45 babies in total, three had already died and that they had not been told how to get the babies to safety.

A plastic surgeon in the hospital said bombing of the building housing incubators had forced them to line up premature babies on ordinary beds, using the little power available to turn the air conditioning to warm.

The Palestinian Red Crescent said medical staff at the second largest hospital in northern Gaza, Al-Quds, were struggling to care for those there with little medicine, food and water.

Shifa was also out of reach for the newly wounded, said Mohammad Qandil, a doctor at Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis in south Gaza, who is in touch with colleagues there.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said it had lost contact with the hospital and was worried about people trapped there.

Israel has said doctors, patients and thousands of evacuees who have taken refuge at hospitals in north Gaza must leave so it can destroy what it says are Hamas command centres under and around them. Hamas denies using hospitals this way.

Palestinian officials said that 11,078 Gaza residents had been killed in air and artillery strikes since October 7, around 40% of them children.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ruled out a role for the Palestinian Authority in Gaza once the war between Israel and Hamas is over.

The United Nations said several people have been killed and wounded in strikes on a UN facility in Gaza City, where hundreds of Palestinians have taken refuge to escape the war.

Evacuations

On Sunday, Israel said people could safely evacuate from three hospitals in northern Gaza, including Shifa via one of its exits. Hospital director Mohammad Abu Selmeyah told Al Arabiya television that there was no safe passage out.

With the humanitarian situation across Gaza worsening, 80 foreigners and several injured Palestinians crossed into Egypt in the first evacuations since Friday, four Egyptian security sources said.

At least 80 aid trucks had also moved from Egypt into Gaza by Sunday afternoon, two of the sources said. Jordan said earlier it had air-dropped a second batch into a field hospital.

On Sunday, Palestinian health officials said 13 people had been killed in an Israeli air strike on a house in Khan Younis in southern Gaza.

Disease is spreading among evacuees packed into schools and other shelters and surviving on tiny amounts of food and water, international aid agencies say.

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