Two newborns in intensive care have died in Gaza’s largest hospital and the lives of 37 more are at risk after fuel runs out amid ongoing fighting in the area. Local authorities report that five patients have already died due to a power outage in the hospital. Doctors plead for an end to hostilities.
Fighting between Israeli soldiers and Hamas fighters took place near al-Shifa hospital in Gaza on Saturday. The Israeli military says Hamas has set up command posts in the tunnels beneath the hospital and is using civilians as human shields. Hospital employees deny these accusations, the Associated Press reported.
The facility’s director, Mohammed Abu Selmia, said that the hospital had run out of its last supplies of fuel for power generators. – Medical devices stopped working. Patients, especially those in intensive care, began to die, he said in a telephone interview, accusing Israeli troops of “shooting at everyone, outside and inside the hospital.” “Explosions could be heard in the background of his voice,” AP reported.
The representative of the Israeli army, Colonel Moshe Tetro, confirmed that fighting took place near the hospital, but denied that the facility was under siege or under direct attack. He assured that he was in contact with the director and offered a safe corridor for people who wanted to leave the hospital.
“The situation is terrifying. It cannot be described in any language, in any words.”
CNN’s website, describing the situation in the hospital, quoted Dr. Mohammed Ghneim, who works in the local emergency department and recorded a voice message for journalists on November 7. – We are doing everything we can, that’s why we haven’t left here for several days, but the situation is terrifying. It cannot be described in any language, in any words, he said. – Many times I want to step aside and cry, but unfortunately there is no time – he admitted.
In an interview, the doctor admitted that he “doesn’t remember the last time he slept or ate, and his blue coat is stained with the blood of patients who died in his arms,” CNN reported. The hospital – as it was added – “is running out of clean water, medicine, supplies and fuel.”
Gheim emphasized that doctors at the hospital “are trained to deal with mass casualties, but not like this.” – We do not have anesthesia to treat patients in severe pain, those with shrapnel in the head or abdomen, or people who have had their arms or legs amputated, he added.
– I want to tell the world: this is a humanitarian crisis, this is genocide – he said. – Please stop it – he appealed.
WHO: We have lost contact with the hospital
Munir Al-Bursh, director of the Hamas-controlled Gaza health ministry, said the Israeli airstrike destroyed the hospital’s generator, cutting off electricity to the building, including life-saving equipment used by 39 infants in the neonatal unit. According to the ministry, five hospital patients died after the electricity was cut off, including a premature baby. The BBC, citing a human rights organization, reported that two premature babies had died and the lives of 37 others were in danger.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Health, quoted by Reuters, said that hospital operations were suspended on Saturday after fuel ran out.
Also on Saturday, the World Health Organization (WHO) said it had lost contact with the hospital. She expressed “serious concerns” about the safety of people trapped there as a result of the fighting.
The WHO expressed “serious concerns for the safety of health care workers and hundreds of sick and injured patients, including children on life support” and called for an immediate ceasefire in the Palestinian enclave.
Israel announces assistance with evacuation
Israeli army spokesman Daniel Hagari said the army would help evacuate children from al-Shifa hospital on Sunday. – Hospital employees asked us to help children from the pediatrics ward get to a safer hospital tomorrow. We will provide the help needed, he said.
The Palestinian Red Crescent meanwhile announced that Israeli tanks were within 20 meters of al-Quds Hospital, also in Gaza City, causing a “state of extreme panic and fear” among some 14,000 people who had taken refuge there. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that Hamas was responsible for the harm done to the civilian population. The head of UN humanitarian operations, Martin Griffiths, said on the X platform (formerly Twitter) that “there can be no justification for acts of war in health care facilities, leaving them without electricity, food or water, and shooting at patients and civilians trying to escape.”
Main photo source: HAITHAM IMAD/EPA/PAP