All hospitals in northern Gaza are out of service as the fighting between Israel and Hamas intensifies, the Hamas-run health ministry said on Monday (Nov 13). According to a report by the news agency AFP, witnesses reported overnight strikes just metres from the Al-Shifa hospital, which is the largest hospital in the Palestinian enclave. Speaking to AFP, Hamas’ Deputy Health Minister Abu Rish said that hospitals in the north were out of service amid intense combat and fuel shortages.
The conflict, which began on Oct 7, is now centring around hospitals in the Gaza Strip. Israel has argued that Hamas militants have built their headquarters under the Al-Shifa hospital complex. However, Hamas has denied this allegation.
On the other hand, United Nations agencies and doctors in the hospital warned a lack of generator fuel was claiming lives, including infants.
Death toll inside Al-Shifa climbs to 34
Abu Rish also told AFP on Monday that the death toll inside Al-Shifa climbed to 34 including 27 adults and seven infants. The hospital has been facing energy shortages for days. Conditions are also worsening for hundreds of patients and thousands of others sheltering in Al-Shifa. Last Saturday, Israel pledged to help evacuate babies from the facility but this has not happened so far.
Two pediatric hospitals in Gaza were forcefully evacuated, causing patients to be out in the streets without care. “The forced evacuations of Al-Nasr and Rantisi paediatric hospitals have left sick people on the streets without care” in Gaza City, Mohammed Zaqut, director-general of hospitals in the Palestinian territory, told reporters.
“We have completely lost contact with the caregivers” at these two hospitals, he added.
EU calls for urgent fuel deliveries to keep hospitals running in Gaza
The European Union (EU) on Monday called for meaningful pauses in the conflict and urgent deliveries of fuel to keep hospitals working in Gaza. “More than half of the hospitals in the Gaza Strip stopped working, primarily because of lack of fuel, and fuel is desperately needed,” EU’s humanitarian aid chief Janez Lenarcic said.
Since Oct 21, around 980 trucks carrying humanitarian aid have been let into Gaza, the UN said.
Fuel has been a key need, especially for hospital generators, but Israel has been concerned that any fuel deliveries could be diverted to Hamas militants.
(With inputs from agencies)