Two more major hospitals in Gaza have closed to new patients due to Israeli bombardment, lack of fuel, and medicine. This situation could result in the deaths of more babies and others, according to the staff. The hospitals in the northern part of the Palestinian enclave are blockaded by Israeli forces and are struggling to provide adequate care. Israel claims that it is targeting Hamas militants in the area and that the hospitals should be evacuated.
Gaza’s largest hospital, Al Shifa, and the second-largest hospital, Al-Quds, have announced the suspension of their operations. With the increasing number of casualties and half of the territory’s hospitals out of action, there are fewer places available to treat the injured. Ahmed al-Kahlout, a father whose son was injured, expressed his frustration at not being able to find a hospital to provide medical attention for his son.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has managed to restore communication with health professionals at Shifa hospital. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus described the situation as “dire and perilous,” with constant gunfire and bombing exacerbating the already critical circumstances. He also mentioned that the number of patient fatalities has significantly increased, and the hospital is no longer functioning as it should.
A plastic surgeon at Shifa hospital revealed that the bombing had forced them to place premature babies on ordinary beds due to the destruction of the incubator area. They are using the limited power available to keep the air conditioning warm. Dr Ahmed El Mokhallalati expressed concern that they may lose more babies as a result of these challenging conditions.
Israel alleges that Hamas has placed command centers under and near the hospitals, making it necessary to target these areas to free hostages taken by the militants. However, Hamas denies using hospitals in this way. A Palestinian official involved in negotiations for the release of hostages stated that Hamas had suspended the talks due to Israel’s handling of Shifa hospital.
There has been no immediate response from either Hamas or Israel regarding the situation in the hospitals.The Israeli military offered to evacuate newborn babies and placed fuel at the entrance of Shifa hospital, but Hamas blocked these gestures. However, Muhammad Abu Salmiya, the director of Shifa, denied reports of refusing to leave the diesel. Ashraf Al-Qidra, spokesperson for the Health Ministry in Gaza, confirmed that three babies in incubators at Shifa had already died. Shifa hospital was inaccessible to newly wounded patients, according to Mohammad Qandil, a doctor at Nasser Hospital. He stated that no one was allowed in or out of Shifa hospital. Al-Quds hospital was also out of service, with staff struggling to care for patients due to a lack of medicine, food, and water, as reported by the Palestinian Red Crescent. Tommaso Della Longa, spokesperson for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, stated that Al Quds hospital had been cut off from the world for the past six to seven days. Three U.N. agencies expressed horror at the situation in the hospitals, highlighting the numerous attacks on healthcare facilities in Gaza. They reported 521 deaths and 686 injuries, including 16 dead and 38 wounded medics, in the span of 36 days. The agencies called for immediate action to halt these attacks and emphasized the need to protect hospitals as safe havens. With half of Gaza’s hospitals now closed, the humanitarian situation in Gaza is worsening. In response, 80 foreigners and several injured Palestinians crossed into Egypt in the first evacuations since Friday. Poland confirmed that 18 of the evacuees were its citizens, and the U.S. national security adviser announced that American citizens would be moved out of Gaza on Sunday.A second batch of aid was air-dropped into a field hospital in Gaza by Jordan, while at least 80 aid trucks had also entered Gaza from Egypt. However, very little aid has been able to reach Gaza since Israel declared war on Hamas over a month ago. Israeli officials claim that during this time, militants killed about 1,200 people and took over 200 hostages. Palestinian officials, on the other hand, reported that 11,078 Gaza residents, including 40% children, have been killed in air and artillery strikes. The dire situation in Gaza has led to the spread of disease among evacuees who are packed into overcrowded shelters and surviving on minimal food and water. Jamila, a resident of Gaza City, described the constant sound of tanks nearby and the struggle for survival. She mentioned hearing explosions throughout the night, some of which were exchanges of fire between resistance fighters and Israeli forces. On Sunday, an Israeli air strike on a house in Khan Younis resulted in the death of 13 people. Increased fighting was also reported around Al-Shati refugee camp, with the Israeli military claiming to have killed militants and urging civilians to evacuate south during a four-hour pause. The conflict in Gaza has also reignited clashes on Israel’s northern border with Lebanon, where Hezbollah attacked Israeli army troops near the Dovev Barracks. The Israeli military retaliated with artillery fire, stating that militants had hit civilians with anti-tank missiles. In southern Lebanon, a member of the U.N. peacekeeping force was wounded by a bullet.
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