The largest hospital in Gaza has ceased operations and deaths among patients are rising, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Sunday, as a heavy Israeli offensive continues in the besieged enclave.
Palestinian officials said Friday that 11,078 Gazans have been killed by airstrikes and artillery since then, about 40 percent of them children.
Hospitals in the northern Palestinian enclave, including the al-Shifa compound, are cordoned off by Israeli forces and can barely care for those inside, with three newborns dead and others at risk from power outages amid heavy fighting nearby, according to with medical staff. .
Israel claims it is capturing Palestinian militants who attacked the country on October 7.
The WHO was able to speak to health professionals in al-Shifa, who described an “unfortunate and dangerous” situation with constant shooting and shelling exacerbating an already critical situation, director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
“Tragically, the number of patient deaths has increased significantly,” he said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, adding that al-Shifa “is no longer functioning as a hospital.”
Tedros joined other top UN officials in calling for an immediate ceasefire.
“The world cannot stand by while hospitals, which should be safe havens, are transformed into scenes of death, destruction and despair,” he said.
The president of Indonesia, home to the world’s largest Muslim population, also called for a ceasefire ahead of a meeting with US President Joe Biden on Monday in Washington.
“A ceasefire must be implemented soon, we must also speed up and increase the amount of humanitarian aid and we must start peace negotiations,” President Joko Widodo said in a video recorded after attending an Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) meeting. in Riyadh.
He said the world seemed “helpless” in the face of the plight of the Palestinians. The emergency joint Arab Islamic summit also urged the International Criminal Court to investigate “war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Israel” in the Palestinian territories.
The European Union condemned Hamas for using “hospitals and civilians as human shields” in Gaza, while also urging Israel to show “maximum restraint” to protect civilians.
“These hostilities are seriously affecting hospitals and taking a terrible toll on civilians and medical staff,” European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said Sunday in a statement issued on behalf of the 27-nation bloc.
White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan claimed that Hamas is using hospitals and other civilian facilities to house fighters and weapons, which he said is a violation of the laws of war.
“The United States does not want to see shootings in hospitals where innocent people, patients receiving medical care, are caught in the crossfire, and we’ve had active consultations with the Israel Defense Forces about that,” Sullivan told CBS News.
The violent Israeli military response has also sparked outrage in many cities around the world, where hundreds of thousands of people have demonstrated to demand a ceasefire.
Israel’s supporters, including Washington, say the ceasefire would allow Hamas to prepare for more attacks, but the Biden administration has pushed Israel to allow pauses in the fighting to allow civilians to flee and aid to flow in.
Biden, who spoke Sunday with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani about developments in Gaza, agreed that all prisoners held by Hamas must be freed “without further delay,” the White House said in a statement. .
The collision has raised fears of a wider conflagration. Lebanon-based Hezbollah has exchanged missile attacks with Israel, and other resistance groups in Iraq and Syria have launched at least 40 separate drone and rocket attacks against US forces.
The United States carried out two airstrikes in Syria against the groups on Sunday, a US defense official told Reuters, in what appears to be the latest response to the attacks.
Babies at risk
The Israeli army claimed it had offered to evacuate the newborn babies and placed 300 liters of fuel at the entrance to al-Shifa on Saturday night, but both gestures were blocked by Hamas.
Hamas denied denying the fuel and said the hospital was under the authority of Gaza’s health ministry, adding that the amount of fuel Israel said was not enough to run the (hospital’s) generators for more than half an hour.”
Ashraf Al-Qidra, a spokesman for the Ministry of Health, said that of the 45 babies in incubators in al-Shifa, three had already died.
A plastic surgeon in al-Sifa said the shelling of the building housing the incubators forced staff to line up premature babies in ordinary beds, using what little power was available to heat the air conditioner.
“We expect to lose more of them day by day,” said Dr. Ahmed El Mokhallalati.
The Palestinian Red Crescent said the strip’s second largest hospital, Al-Quds, was also out of service, with staff struggling to care for those already there with little medicine, food and water.
“Al Quds hospital has been cut off from the world for the last six to seven days. There is no way in, no way out,” said Tommaso Della Longa, a spokesman for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
a href=”https://tribune.com.pk/story/2446159/gazas-largest-hospital-not-functioning-amid-israeli-assault”>Source link