Two major hospitals in northern Gaza have closed to new patients amid Israeli airstrikes and heavy fighting around both facilities, as medical staff were left without oxygen, medical supplies or fuel to power incubators.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) said the al-Shifa hospital, Gaza’s largest, “is not functioning as a hospital any more”, while those trapped inside it rejected Israel’s claims that it was helping babies and others evacuate on Sunday.
Intense clashes are continuing around al-Shifa, and another major facility, al-Quds, as Israel presses its offensive against Hamas in the territory.
The Palestine Red Crescent Society has reported on social media that an attempt to reach al-Quds hospital from Khan Younis to evacuate patients has been abandoned due to “continuing shelling and shooting”.
WHO chief Tedros Ghebreyesus said: “The world cannot stand silent while hospitals, which should be safe havens, are transformed into scenes of death, devastation, and despair.”
He said on the X social media platform that the al-Shifa hospital has been without water three days
Health officials and people trapped inside the hospital said fighting continued just outside the facility where incubators lay idle with no electricity and critical supplies were running out.
The last generator ran out of fuel Saturday, leading to the deaths of three premature babies and four other patients, according to the Hamas-controlled health ministry. It said another 36 babies are at risk of dying, the WHO said.
Israel’s military asserted it placed 300 litres of fuel near Shifa overnight for an emergency generator powering incubators for premature babies and co-ordinated the delivery with hospital officials.
A health ministry spokesperson said, however, the fuel would not be enough to operate the generator an hour.
The Palestine Red Crescent Society announced on Sunday that the al-Quds hospital in the Gaza Strip was “out of service and no longer operational”. It states that “the cessation of services is due to the depletion of available fuel and power outage”.
At least 20 of Gaza’s 36 hospitals are no longer functioning.
Elsewhere, the US military conducted airstrikes on two locations in eastern Syria involving Iranian-backed groups, hitting a training location and a weapons facility, according to the Pentagon and US officials.
It marks the third time in a bit more than two weeks that the US has retaliated against the militants for what has been a growing number of attacks on bases housing US troops in Iraq and Syria. – Guardian