Israel’s offensive against Hamas in Gaza City has led to intense fighting, affecting hospitals and medical facilities. The largest hospital, Al-Shifa, is being targeted, with thousands trapped by nearby battles. Other facilities are also experiencing a lack of supplies and power. The World Health Organization reports that 36 health facilities, including 22 hospitals, have been damaged since the war began on October 7, with only a few remaining operational.
Al-Shifa; The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that Al-Shifa, the largest hospital in Gaza City, had ceased to function and was in dire and perilous condition. The surrounding streets were engulfed by fighting between Hamas and Israeli forces, causing damage to critical infrastructure. Israel claims Hamas fighters operate in tunnels underneath the hospital, which Hamas denies. Staff inside say it is impossible to leave without risking injury or death.
There are no food and fuel to run generators, with solar energy being used to power a few critical systems. Communication blackouts have occurred, and the Doctors without borders charity has been unable to contact its members inside Gaza over the weekend. The Hamas-run Health Ministry has said there are at least 2,300 people still inside the hospital, including up to 650 patients, 200-500 staff, and around 1,500 people seeking shelter. Surviving babies are at serious risk of death, according to doctors.
The Israel Defense Force’s chief spokesman, Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, said that Israel would provide assistance to evacuate the babies to a “safer hospital,” but that evacuation has not happened as of Monday afternoon. Hospital staff have told the BBC that moving the babies safely would require sophisticated equipment and that there is no “safer hospital” inside Gaza.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stated that Hamas does not want solutions for the lack of fuel needed to save the babies and that “they want pictures to show a crisis”. Col. Moshe Tetro of the IDF said there were clashes nearby, but no shooting at the hospital itself or siege.
Additionally, the growing risk of disease due to a lack of sanitation and the decomposition of dead bodies that cannot be refrigerated has led to attempts to bury the dead.
Al-Ahli hospital; WHO’s Dr. Tedros stated that hospitals in the Gaza Strip are operating beyond their capacity, with Dr. Ghassan Abu Sittah at Al-Ahli in northern Gaza stating that the hospital is taking all wounded from Gaza City but lacks the resources to cope. Ambulances arrive with wounded people every 10 minutes, and the hospital staff lack access to a blood bank surrounded by Israeli tanks. The hospital lacks an x-ray technician and medication, leading to painful procedures on large wounds. Operating rooms are being saved for life-saving surgeries due to insufficient resources. Al-Ahli was the site of a deadly blast last month, causing conflict between Israel and Hamas over responsibility.
Al-Quds hospital; The Palestinian Red Crescent has reported that the second largest hospital in the Gaza Strip, Al-Quds, has ceased operation due to a depletion of fuel and power. The hospital has trapped around 14,000 displaced people, mostly women and children, and is now facing severe risks from ongoing Israeli bombardment. The Red Crescent has also reported that an evacuation convoy from Khan Younis in southern Gaza to Al-Quds had to turn back after experiencing relentless bombardment. Those trapped in the hospital are without food, water, or electricity. Doctors without borders has lost contact with a surgeon working and sheltering in Al-Quds with his family. The Red Crescent has stated that the hospital has been cut off for nearly a week, with no way in or out.
The Rantisi Specialized Hospital for Children and Al-Nasr hospital in Gaza City were evacuated on Friday, with only a few patients and staff left. The IDF released phone conversations between an Rantisi official and a senior officer in the IDF, discussing arrangements for ambulances to evacuate patients. The Israeli officer instructed the displaced civilians to leave via the main entrance at 11:20 and instructed them to carry white flags to show they are not combatants. A video verified by the BBC showed people waving white flags being shot on as they attempted to leave Al-Nasr. Dr. Bakr Gaoud, head of Rantisi, stated that Israeli forces arrived at the end of last week and provided maps showing safe ways out. Patients in the worst condition were sent to Al-Shifa, which was already overwhelmed and ceasing to function. Everyone else made their way to southern Gaza away from the main fighting.
A Swedish clinic, Shati camp in Gaza has been destroyed by an Israeli air strike, leaving around 500 people sheltering there. The UN’s office for humanitarian affairs reported that Israeli soldiers entered the facility on Sunday night, moved everyone out, and watched an Israeli bulldozer demolish the building. Survivor Maryam Al-Arabeed, 65, said Israeli soldiers took young men, including her three sons, and separated women and children. She is unsure of where her sons or relatives are.