Israeli forces have reached the gates of Gaza City’s main hospital, Al Shifa, in their ongoing campaign to seize control of the northern half of the Gaza Strip. The siege of the hospital and the cut-off of its power have resulted in the death of 32 patients, including newborn babies. Desperate patients remain trapped inside, awaiting evacuation, while Israel claims the hospital is being used as a headquarters for Hamas fighters. The dire situation at Al Shifa hospital highlights the devastating impact of the Israeli military campaign on civilians.
Critical Conditions at Al Shifa Hospital:
Gaza health ministry spokesperson Ashraf Al-Qidra, present at Al Shifa hospital, reported that patients, including newborn babies, were dying due to the siege and the hospital’s lack of power. The situation is exacerbated by Israeli tanks stationed at the hospital gate and ongoing firing from snipers and drones. The medics and patients are unable to move freely, and the hospital is described as a “circle of death.”
Efforts to Evacuate Patients:
Israel has instructed civilians to leave the area and issued demands for the evacuation of patients to other medical facilities. However, Gaza medical authorities claim that offers to evacuate babies from the neo-natal ward and provide limited fuel have been blocked by Hamas. The hospital requires 8,000-10,000 liters of fuel per day to function properly, but only 300 liters were delivered.
Deteriorating Conditions and Pleas for Help:
Dr. Ahmed El Mokhallalati, a surgeon at Al Shifa hospital, described the critical situation, with babies being crowded into beds and premature infants facing reduced chances of survival. The hospital is in desperate need of fuel to power its emergency generators and is calling for support from the Red Cross or other international agencies.
Mounting Concerns and International Response:
The conflict in Gaza has raised global concerns and led to a polarized international community. Many countries condemn the Israeli response, considering the high number of civilian casualties in a densely populated territory. Demands for a ceasefire have been rejected by Israel, which argues that it must destroy Hamas and blames the militants for the harm caused to civilians. The United Nations, whose staff have suffered the largest toll of humanitarian workers in any war, has also expressed deep concern.
The conflict has prompted fears of a broader escalation. Clashes on Israel’s northern border with Lebanon have intensified, and the United States launched air strikes on Iran-linked militia targets in neighboring Syria. Hezbollah, supported by Iran, has engaged in missile attacks with Israel, while other Iran-backed groups in Iraq and Syria have targeted U.S. forces.
The situation at Al Shifa hospital illustrates the dire consequences of the Israeli military campaign in Gaza. The lack of power, ongoing attacks, and limited supplies have put patients’ lives at risk. Efforts must be made to provide immediate support and evacuation options for the trapped patients in coordination with international agencies such as the Red Cross. The international community must continue to press for a ceasefire to prevent further civilian casualties and the escalation of the conflict.