Gaza: Palestinians demand the evacuation of patients and newborns from the largest hospital

DEIR EL BALAH (Gaza Strip) – Palestinian authorities proposed evacuating a hospital plagued by fighting in Gaza on Tuesday under the supervision of the Red Cross, as health officials warned that the only way to save thirteen newborn babies trapped there was to call a doctor. Cease fire and get them out The besieged area.

After days of battles with Palestinian militants, Israeli forces cordoned off the area Al-Shifa HospitalHundreds of patients, medical staff and displaced people are trapped with dwindling supplies and without electricity to run incubators and other equipment.

Gaza’s largest hospital has emerged as a symbol Palestinian suffering In the war between Israel and Hamas that extends beyond its walls. The United Nations Office for Humanitarian Affairs said on Tuesday that only one hospital in the northern Gaza Strip is still able to receive patients, and that about 200,000 Palestinians have left the area, with conditions in the south deteriorating in recent days.

The war, now in its sixth week, was sparked by a surprise attack by Hamas on Israel, in which the militants participated. Hundreds of civilians were killed It withdrew about 240 hostages to Gaza. The conflict led to the deaths of thousands of Palestinian civilians and caused widespread destruction in the impoverished Strip.

Hamas released a video late Monday showing one of the hostages, who identified herself as 19-year-old Noah Marciano, before and after she was killed in what Hamas said was an Israeli raid. The army later declared her a martyr, without specifying the cause of death.

She is the first hostage whose death in captivity was confirmed. Hamas released four of them and Israeli forces rescued the fifth.

The plight of hospitals

Israel accuses Hamas of using… Hospitals as cover for its fightersThey claimed that the militants had set up their main command center in and under Al-Shifa. Israel says these allegations are based on intelligence information, but has not provided visual evidence to support them.

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Hamas and Shifa Hospital employees deny the accusations, and the Hamas-ruled Gaza Ministry of Health says it has called on international organizations to investigate the facility.

The ministry said that 40 patients, including three children, had died since the hospital’s emergency generator ran out of fuel on Saturday. The army said it placed fuel on several buildings of Al-Shifa Hospital, but Hamas militants prevented staff from reaching it – a claim the ministry denied, saying instead that it was too dangerous for staff to leave.

According to the ministry, there are still 36 children at risk of death due to the lack of power for incubators.

The Israeli army said it had begun an effort to transfer the incubators to Al-Shifa Hospital. But Christian Lindmeier, a spokesman for the World Health Organization, said these devices would be useless without electricity, and that the only way to save newborns was to move them out of Gaza.

“Having another hospital under siege or under attack is not a viable solution. There is no safe place in Gaza right now,” he told the Associated Press. He added that the evacuation would require specialized equipment and ceasefires along the way.

Ministry of Health spokesman Ashraf Al-Qudra said that it proposed evacuating the hospital under the supervision of the International Committee of the Red Cross and transferring patients to hospitals in Egypt, but it did not receive any response. He said that 120 bodies will be buried in a mass grave inside the hospital because they cannot be safely transported to the graves.

International law gives hospitals special protection during war. Hospitals can lose that protection if combatants use them to hide fighters or store weapons, but staff and patients must be given plenty of warning to evacuate, and harm to civilians cannot be disproportionate to the military objective.

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On Monday, the army released footage of a children’s hospital its forces entered over the weekend, showing weapons it said were found inside, as well as rooms in the basement where militants are believed to be holding hostages. The video showed what appeared to be a hastily installed toilet and ventilation system in the basement.

The Ministry of Health rejected these allegations, saying that the area had turned into a shelter for displaced people.

On Monday, the Red Cross tried to evacuate about six thousand people from Al-Quds Hospital in Gaza City, but said that its convoy was forced to return due to bombing and fighting.

Deteriorating conditions in the south

Israel has urged civilians to evacuate Gaza City and its surrounding areas in the north, but the southern part of the besieged enclave is not safer. Israel launches frequent air strikes across Gaza, hitting what it says are militant targets, but often killing women and children.

Some 1.5 million Palestinians, more than two-thirds of Gaza’s population, have fled their homes, and UN-run shelters in the south are already severely overcrowded.

the people Standing in line for hours For scarce bread and brackish water. Garbage piles up, sewage floods the streets, and taps run dry because there is no way to operate water systems. Israel has banned fuel imports since the beginning of the war, saying that Hamas would use it for military purposes.

The onset of rainy and cold weather added to the misery. In a camp outside a hospital in the central city of Deir al-Balah, people were walking through mud while stretching plastic sheets over flimsy tents.

“All these tents collapsed because of the rain,” said Iqbal Abu Al-Saud, who fled Gaza City with 30 of her relatives. “How many days will we have to deal with this?”

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The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, which is struggling to provide basic services to more than 600,000 people taking refuge in schools and other facilities in the south, said it could run out of fuel by Wednesday, forcing it to halt most aid operations. It was said that he could no longer do so Importing limited supplies of food and medicine Through the Egyptian Rafah crossing, the only link between Gaza and the outside world.

Regional tensions

As of Friday, more than 11,000 Palestinians, two-thirds of whom were women and minors, had been killed since the start of the war, according to the Ministry of Health. No difference Among the dead among civilians and soldiers. About 2,700 people were reported missing.

At least 1,200 people have been killed on the Israeli side, most of them civilians killed in the initial Hamas attack. The army says that 46 soldiers were killed in ground operations in Gaza, and that thousands of militants were killed.

About 250,000 Israelis were evacuated from communities near Gaza, where Palestinian militants are still firing a barrage of rockets, and along the northern border, where Israel and the Lebanese Hezbollah group are located. They exchanged gunfire repeatedly.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health said on Tuesday that the war had fueled tensions in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, where at least seven Palestinians were killed overnight during an Israeli raid. There was no immediate comment from the army. More than 190 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank since October 7.


Magdy reported from Cairo. Associated Press writer Amy Table in Jerusalem contributed to this report.


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