Israel-Gaza: A Palestinian doctor dies in Israeli prisons

Comment on the photo, Dr. Adnan Al-Barash speaks on the Lifeline in Gaza program on BBC Arabic

Palestinian prisoners' associations said that a Palestinian doctor died in an Israeli prison after more than four months of detention.

Dr. Adnan Al-Barash, 50 years old, was head of the orthopedic department at Al-Shifa Hospital.

The Israeli Prison Service confirmed that the statement published on April 19 about the prisoner who was arrested for reasons related to national security and died in Ofer Prison was Dr. Al-Barsh.

Details about the cause of death were not revealed, and the Prison Service said the incident was being investigated.

But Palestinian prisoner advocacy groups said in a joint statement on Thursday that Dr. Al-Bersh's death was an “assassination” and that his body was still being held by Israel.

Dr. Al-Barash was the head of the orthopedic department at the largest medical facility in Gaza, Al-Shifa Hospital, which was raided several times by Israeli armed forces.

He was working temporarily at Al Awda Hospital in northern Gaza when he was arrested by Israeli forces.

His colleagues praised the late surgeon, describing him as “compassionate” and “heroic.”

Director of Al-Shifa Hospital, Dr. Marwan Abu Saada, said that the news of his death was difficult for the human soul to bear.

Another colleague, Dr. Suhail Matar, described Dr. Al-Bersh as a “safety valve” for the entire orthopedic department in all of Gaza’s hospitals.

He described his late colleague as someone who never tired of working, and he was “loved by everyone and his smile never disappeared.”

Comment on the photo, Dr. Adnan Al-Barsh was head of the orthopedic department at Al-Shifa Hospital, the largest medical facility in Gaza.

Francesca Albanese, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, said she was “deeply concerned” by news of Dr. Al-Bersh’s death, and called on the diplomatic community to take concrete measures to protect Palestinians.

Meanwhile, White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said President Joe Biden discussed with Israel the importance of protecting humanitarian workers in Gaza.

“The president has said very clearly that when it comes to the people who… in Gaza are providing critical care, humanitarian aid, humanitarian care, they need to be protected. They need to be protected. And certainly those conversations are and I will continue,” she said.

He added, “We believe that certainly… the Israeli government has made efforts to do this and has taken our concerns into account, so we will continue to have those conversations, but it is heartbreaking to hear.”

The Hamas-run Ministry of Health in Gaza said in a statement that Dr. Al-Bersh's death means that the total number of medical workers killed by Israel since the October 7 attack now stands at 496.

She added that 1,500 others were injured, while 309 were arrested.

The BBC has contacted the IDF for comment.

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