Fighting continues outside Gaza's Al-Shifa hospital

Fighting between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants outside Gaza's largest hospital has prompted thousands of people to flee from the sprawling medical facility.

By Linda Bordoni

Hundreds of patients and others displaced by the war remain inside Gaza's largest hospital and staff said three premature babies have died out of 39 that could no longer be given intensive care treatment because of fuel shortages.

An Israel Defence Forces spokesman said on Monday the fuel urgently needed to save the lives of premature babies at Al-Shifa hospital has been rejected by Hamas.

Hamas denies the claim. The hospital meanwhile says Israel has offered 300 litres of fuel so far, but the facility needs 500 litres an hour to operate.

On Sunday the Director General of the World Health Organization said the UN agency was in contact with Al-Shifa, which had reportedly been without electricity and water for three days.

He noted that gunfire and bombings outside the compound “have exacerbated the already critical circumstances."

Human shields

Israel says the hospital sits atop tunnels housing a headquarters for Hamas fighters, who are to blame for its plight for using patients as human shields, another claim Hamas denies.

Meanwhile, more than two-thirds of Gaza’s population of 2.3 million have fled their homes since the war began. 

Israel launched its military assault to destroy Hamas, the Palestinian militant group which runs the Gaza Strip, after Hamas fighters rampaged through southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing civilians. Around 1,200 people died and 240 were taken hostage.

Since then, thousands of Gazans have been killed and more than half the population made homeless by Israel's relentless onslaught. Gaza medical authorities say more than 11,000 people have been confirmed killed, around 40% of them children. (Source AP and other agencies)

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13 November 2023, 15:44