A premature baby and two patients have died in Gaza’s Al-Shifa hospital, the Hamas-run health ministry said Monday, bringing the toll to six babies and nine patients as the facility suffered fuel shortages.
The hospital, Gaza’s largest, has suffered energy shortages for days as it has been caught amid intense fighting between Israeli troops and Hamas militants.
Youssef Abu Rish, deputy health minister in the Palestinian territory ruled by Hamas, also told AFP that all the hospitals in the northern Gaza Strip are “out of service”.
Conditions are worsening for hundreds of patients and thousands of others sheltering in Al-Shifa, which has become a flashpoint in the war that has raged for more than five weeks.
- We’re working towards changing the narrative of Nigeria, says Tinubu
- 2024 budget: How to address Nigeria’s economic challenges, boost IGR — Senate
Israel pledged on Saturday to help evacuate babies from the facility, but that has not happened as the hospital remains caught in Israel’s ground offensive.
The Israeli army also said its ground soldiers had hand-delivered 300 litres of fuel to the hospital “for urgent medical purposes”.
But that was not collected by authorities in the facility as fierce fighting rages, with Israel claiming that Hamas prevented the hospital from taking it.
Al-Shifa director Mohammad Abu Salmiya contested the Israeli claims.
He told AFP the Israeli army called him and said the fuel would be dropped off 500 metres from Al-Shifa.
“I told them ‘if you want to help, I need at least 8,000 litres to run the main generators and save hundreds of patients and injured’,” he said.
“They refused and we no longer have any idea” of the status of the fuel that was dropped off, he added.
Israel is facing intense international pressure to minimise civilian suffering amid a massive air and ground operation that Hamas authorities say has already killed more than 11,000 people, including thousands of children.
The military campaign came after Hamas fighters broke through the militarised border with Israel on October 7, killing around 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and taking about 240 people hostage, according to the most recent Israeli figures.