Most of the medical staff and patients who were in the Al Shifa hospital, the largest in the Gaza Strip, They have abandoned it after a Israel’s military ultimatum whose Army denies having given. At least five doctors have remained inside the hospital to supervise the coordination of the departure of some 120 injured people who have remained in its facilities as well as 30 premature babies, according to a statement from the general directorate of the Ministry of Health.
Testimonies cited by the Ministry of Health reflect moments of chaos and anguish within the medical complex prior to the evacuation, such as the fact that ““Many children and adults were unable to continue walking.” along the route provided by the troops towards Al Wahda Street, towards the Salah al Din road.
This road is the route established by Israel for Palestinians from northern Gaza to move south. The director of the Ministry of Health, Munir al Barsh, was one of the people who left the center and, according to his testimony, the entire area around the hospital is “completely destroyed.”
“We heard the wounded and we couldn’t help them, there were people dying,” said Al Barsh, quoted by the Ministry, before warning that many patients may die on their evacuation route, which they are forced to do on foot, he said.
Likewise, he pointed out that the 30 premature babies who were being cared for in a precarious manner in the hospital, which has been practically out of service for days due to the electricity outage and the lack of fuel due to the Israeli siege, have remained at the hospital. According to him, he assured them, they have coordinated with the Red Cross so that the organization takes care of them.
However, lamented the death of six premature babies due to the precarious situation as well as that of six dialysis patients and 22 other people who were in the Intensive Care Unit.
For his part, the center’s Emergency Supervisor, Omar Zaqut, also evacuated, insisted that the Army had taken them out of the hospital “at gunpoint” and urged them to carry a flag or white handkerchiefs.
Likewise, the Ministry of Health, controlled by the political arm of the Islamist group Hamas, showed images supposedly prior to the evacuation of the emergency zone that showed total chaos with patients precariously cared for on the ground and dozens of people going to one side. for other.
The Israeli Army today denied having given a one-hour deadline to the doctors, patients and displaced people who remain in the Palestinian Al Shifa hospital. According to the Israel Defense Forces, they agreed “to the request of the director of Al Shifa Hospital to allow other Gazans who were in the hospital and wanted to evacuate to do so via the safe route.
“At no time did the Army order the evacuation of patients or medical equipment and, in fact, proposed that any request for medical evacuation be facilitated by the Army,” the military statement said.
Shortly before, the Gaza Ministry of Health had reported that “The occupation army gives doctors, patients and displaced people the possibility of evacuating the Shifa hospital in Gaza in one hour.”
The Israeli Army maintains that Al Shifa hides a Hamas command center and that, therefore, it is a military objective, where it also suspects that at some point it had hidden the hostages it kidnapped in Israel on October 7.
In recent days, he has besieged it and made several limited incursions into its facilities in which he claims to have discovered weapons and a tunnel used by the Islamist group Hamas.