The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that Gaza’s largest hospital, Al Shifa, has completely lost communication with its focal points. The loss of communication arose amid the news of repeated Israeli attacks on the hospital, with Israel alleging that Hamas has been using it as a command center for terrorist activities.
According to the WHO, the staff at Al Shifa could have joined the tens of thousands of displaced people seeking shelter on the hospital grounds or fleeing the area. They also reported that some of those fleeing the hospital have been shot at, wounded, or killed. Additionally, the hospital has been surrounded by tanks, posing a threat to the safety of the staff and patients.
The WHO has expressed grave concern for the safety of the health workers as well as the hundreds of patients, including children. The organization has been urging for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza and safe medical evacuations for the critically injured and sick.
Furthermore, the WHO stated that Al Shifa’s staff have reported a lack of clean water and the risk of essential medical equipment, such as ventilators and incubators, being shut down due to a lack of fuel. These conditions exacerbate the already dire situation at the hospital.
On Saturday night, the Palestinian Ministry of Health also reported that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) were attacking the area around Al Shifa. They noted that the ambulances were unable to move due to the intense bombing. However, IDF official Colonel Moshe Tetro denied that the medical center was in danger, claiming that there were only clashes between IDF troops and Hamas terrorists around the hospital, and there was no siege.
The tensions between Israel and the Palestinian militant group, Hamas, have escalated, with both sides accusing each other of using the medical center for military purposes. Israel has claimed that Hamas was operating in and under Shifa hospital, and that terrorists were moving freely within the premises. However, no evidence has been presented to support these claims.
The recent conflict began after Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel, resulting in a significant number of casualties and hostages, according to Israeli officials. In response, Israel declared a war and initiated large-scale airstrikes and a ground operation in Gaza. According to Palestinian officials, the number of casualties on their side has reached 11,000, including over 4,500 children.
The prevailing situation in Gaza is dire, with the lack of communication and escalating hostilities posing significant challenges for the medical staff and patients at Al Shifa hospital. The need for humanitarian aid, a ceasefire, and safe medical evacuations are urgent to prevent further loss of life. The international community must intervene to address the crisis and safeguard the lives of civilians in Gaza.