It’s where thousands of injured and displaced people are trapped amid ferocious bombardment. “We are minutes away from imminent death,” Muhammad Abu Salmiya, al-Shifa Hospital’s director told Al Jazeera news from inside the besieged facility on Saturday. Operations had to be suspended after it ran out of power and fuel.
Abu Salmiya said Israeli forces are targeting al-Shifa’s buildings and anyone moving within the hospital compound is attacked by Israeli snipers.
“One member of a medical crew, who tried to reach the incubator to lend a helping hand to the babies born inside, was shot and killed,” he said. “We lost a baby in the incubator, we also lost a young man in the intensive care unit.”
Gaza’s deputy health minister Dr Youssef Abu al-Reesh, who’s currently inside al-Shifa, said all generators are off and all power sources are now out in the hospital. “We have 39 newborns in the incubators, those babies are fighting against death,” he said.
“Ferocious gunfire can be heard within the vicinity of the hospital, the intensive care unit received a mortar shell a few minutes ago. Blood is everywhere, on the floor, we cannot even clean it.”
Israel claims al-Shifa provides cover for a Hamas command centre, an accusation the hospital’s director has rejected as “utter lies”. Hamas also rejects the claims.
Elsewhere, Israeli tanks have surrounded Gaza’s largest healthcare facility. Mustafa al-Kahlout, who heads the Al Nasr hospital and Al Rantisi Pediatric hospital in northern Gaza, told CNN news, “We are completely surrounded, and we cannot leave.
“We do not have electricity, no oxygen for the patients, we do not have medicine and water. We do not know our fate.”
Even the Palestinian Authority health minister Mai al-Kaila—a body which collaborates with Israel in the West Bank—has accused Israeli forces of shelling Gaza’s largest hospital with white phosphorus.
“This is an internationally banned weapon. We are wondering who is responsible for holding Israel to account for shelling al-Shifa Hospital with white phosphorus,” she told a news conference in Ramallah.
She added that Israeli forces were committing a “genocide” in Gaza. “Inevitable death has become the fate of patients in Gaza hospitals—and we hold Israel, the United Nations and the international community responsible for that,” she added.
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