Siege Leaves Gaza’s Largest Hospital ‘Out of Service’ and ‘Surrounded’November 11, 2023
The final drops of fuel have run out at Gaza’s largest hospital, where five patients, including a premature baby, have reportedly died in the hours since it shut down.
Dr. Ashraf Al-Qudra, spokesman for the Palestinian Ministry of Health, during a press conference Saturday confirmed the last generator powering the al-Shifa Health Complex has failed, forcing the sprawling medical facility “out of service.” Both the pediatric and intensive care units have gone completely dark amid ongoing Israeli bombardments and attacks, he added, leaving dozens more babies, most of them in incubators, at risk.
“There is no electricity. Medical devices stopped. Patients, especially those in intensive care, have started to die,” Mohammed Abu Selmia, the director of Shifa, added. What’s more, Israeli troops have been “shooting at anyone outside or inside the hospital,” preventing movement between buildings within the compound.
As of early Saturday morning, Israeli Defense Force tanks and soldiers have entirely encircled al-Shifa, where Palestinians have sought cover in recent weeks. Dr. Munir Al-Bursh, Director-General of the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Health, told CNN the hospital was “surrounded from all four directions.” He estimated that 400 people were being treated at the hospital and around 20,000 displaced people seeking shelter inside.
The situation is similarly dire at Al Quds hospital in northern Gaza, where doctors have carried out operations and surgeries by torchlight. The Palestinian Red Crescent Society warned it was only a matter of hours before it too would be forced to close its doors due to the “depletion of fuel, supplies and the non-arrival of aid.”
Essentials, like food, water and medicine, have become scarce in the Strip amid Israeli efforts to stomp out Hamas, a mission triggered by the terrorist group’s incursion the morning of Oct. 7. Israel initially said an estimated 1,400 people were slaughtered during the surprise attack, but on Saturday revised the figure down to approximately 1,200. Another 240 people were kidnapped and many of them are still being held hostage in the coast enclave.
Israel has since defended its right to respond to Hamas’ violence, resisting a push to pause its ongoing aerial attacks and ground operations, which have so far killed more than 11,000 people. When asked specifically about the hospital violence, the IDF told CNN it is engaged in “ongoing intense fighting” against Hamas in the vicinity of the al-Shifa hospital, but declined to comment further, citing the ongoing military activity.
Israeli officials have said al-Shifa sits atop Hamas’ main command post and that it is essentially using civilians as human shields.
Both Hamas and the hospital have denied the claims.