The Shifa Hospital area in Gaza has become in it combat center and focus of accusations between Israel and the fundamentalist group Hamas in a war that this Saturday marked five intense weeks of projectiles and bombs. While the UN warns about a dramatic health situation in the Palestinian enclave and demands a ceasefire to save patients, wounded and displaced, thousands of inhabitants of the northern Gaza Strip they continue making their way south in Israel’s “humanitarian pause” that could become a “humanitarian truce” if there is an agreement on the issue of those kidnapped by Hamas on October 7.
After denouncing “the attack and siege” by Israel against several hospitals, the Ministry of Health controlled by the Islamist group warned this Saturday about the risk to the lives of 37 babies newborns in the neonatal unit of Shifa Hospital after being “out of service” while an Israeli NGO said two died due to a lack of electricity. “The intensive care unit, the pediatric department and the oxygen devices stopped working,” said Health Ministry spokesperson Dr. Ashraf al-Qidra while director general Munir Al Bursh denounced that “Shifa is under siege in all directions. The occupation surrounds it and prevents the evacuation of the wounded.”
The director of Shifa Hospital, Mohamed Abu Selmia, said that Israel demanded that they evacuate the hospital, but that there was nowhere for such a large number of patients to go. According to him, his center “has been left without water, fuel, food, electricity and telecommunications, with thousands of people inside, including wounded, patients and displaced people“.
The Israeli Army denies the accusations. In Arabic, Colonel Moshe Tetro denies that his forces have fired on the Shifa Hospital and confirms in its surroundings “armed clashes between soldiers and terrorists” while informing Gazans that “the east side of the hospital” is still open for anyone who wants to leave.
Israel – its spokespersons remember – has been asking for weeks evacuation of hospitals to safer places to “be able to confront the terrorists” by denouncing that the armed wing of Hamas uses Shifa and the rest of Gaza’s health centers to hide underground and launch armed attacks. In this way, they warn of a future that may not be very distant, turning Shifa into “legitimate military objective”. For the first time, Israeli sources do not rule out the possibility that some kidnapped people held by Hamas are in the basement of Gaza’s main hospital.