Israeli tanks surrounded a hospital in the Gaza Strip, the hospital’s director told CNN, after reports that the largest medical facility in the strip had come under “shelling”. Concerns grew on Friday that Israeli military operations are further endangering patients and medical staff in the Gaza Strip.
Mustafa al-Kharut, director of al-Nasr Hospital and al-Rantisi Children’s Hospital in northern Gaza, told CNN that his hospitals were under siege and he had asked the Red Cross for evacuation assistance. “We are completely surrounded, there are tanks outside the hospital and we can’t get out,” al-Kahrut said.
The hospital complex is located near the Sheikh Radwan district and al-Shati camp, where ground fighting has been reported separately by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Hamas. “We have no electricity, no oxygen for patients, no medicine, no water,” Al Karut said. “We don’t know our destiny.”
His call came after strikes were reported near several other hospitals in northern Gaza, including Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, the largest medical facility in the Gaza Strip.
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A World Health Organization (WHO) spokesperson said on Friday that al-Shifa was “under shell fire”, adding that 20 hospitals in the Gaza Strip were “out of commission”.
Asked on Friday about a possible Israeli airstrike on al-Shifa hospital, WHO spokesperson Margaret Harris told a briefing: “We don’t have the details about al-Shifa, but we know they are being bombed.” I understand,” he said.
The Israeli military claimed late Friday that the attack on al-Shifa hospital was caused by an accidental projectile fired from within the Gaza Strip.
“Early today, the Israel Defense Forces received reports of an attack on Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. Hamas-run news outlets in the Gaza Strip immediately claimed that this was an attack by the Israel Defense Forces.” Spokesman Lt. Col. Richard Hecht said in a statement to CNN.
The IDF announced that an investigation into its operational systems revealed that “a projectile fired by a terrorist organization in the Gaza Strip accidentally hit Shifa Hospital.”
Hecht went on to claim that the projectile was directed at “IDF forces operating in the vicinity.”
Several social media videos showed injured people at what was described as an outpatient clinic in Al Shifa.
It is unclear what struck the hospital, but video shows injured people lying on the ground in an outdoor clinic. Witnesses in the video claim it was a strike in the area. CNN could not confirm whether it was a strike.
Al-Awda Hospital in northern Gaza said in a Facebook statement that 10 staff members were injured and infrastructure was damaged as Israeli forces “targeted the vicinity of Al-Awda Hospital and the vicinity of Indonesian Hospital.” . Nine vehicles were affected.
A statement from the hospital said this included “two completely damaged ambulances.”
Médecins Sans Frontières said in a statement on Saturday that it had lost contact with staff inside Al Shifa Hospital. “In recent hours, the attack on Al Shifa Hospital has dramatically intensified. Hospital staff have reported a catastrophic situation inside,” the humanitarian organization said in a post on X (formerly Twitter).
The group said it was extremely concerned for the safety of staff and patients at the health facility, some of whom were in critical condition and unable to move or evacuate.
“There are patients who need surgery. There are patients in our department who are already asleep. We are unable to evacuate ourselves. [leave] The people inside. As a doctor, I am committed to helping those in need,” the group quoted Dr. Mohamed Obeid, a surgeon at the hospital, as saying.
Meanwhile, the imminent closure of al-Quds Hospital in Gaza City could lead to the death of patients, including infants, the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) warned in a statement early Saturday morning local time.
“Due to the depletion of fuel supplies and non-arrival of relief supplies, Al-Quds Hospital is at risk of closure within the next three hours,” PRCS said. “500 patients and injured people will be without medical care. People in the ICU and babies in incubators will die.”
PRCS announced on Wednesday that it would reduce most of its operations to ensure minimal service provision amid the fuel shortage.
Human rights groups say Israel’s mass shelling of civilian areas, evacuation orders and territorial blockades amount to war crimes.
The IDF has not commented on the incident, but has repeatedly called on civilians to move south of Wadi Gaza, a waterway that bisects the center of the Strip, as it intensifies attacks on Gaza City and the northern part of the territory. .
The Israel Defense Forces said Hamas is integrated into civilian infrastructure and will attack Hamas “whenever necessary.” Earlier this month, the IDF released aerial photos that it said showed rocket launchers and tunnel openings near two hospitals in Gaza. CNN cannot verify these claims. The Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority Ministry of Health and Hamas-affiliated government media denied claims that the hospital was being used as a shield for attacks.
Following the Hamas attack on October 7, Israel launched an offensive within the Gaza Strip. Israel had previously said 1,400 people were killed in the attack, but officials said Friday they believed the total number of deaths was about 1,200.
The death toll also includes foreign workers and other foreign nationals, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lior Hiat confirmed.
Hyatt stressed that the current estimate of 1,200 is not a final number, as some of the bodies have not yet been identified.
Israeli forces have stepped up operations in northern Gaza in recent days, with ground operations and the heaviest airstrikes appearing to be concentrated in the north, effectively dividing the territory in two.
The attacks have killed more than 11,000 Palestinians so far, according to sources in Hamas-controlled areas, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry in Ramallah. The Israeli airstrike killed at least 4,506 children and 3,027 women and injured more than 27,000 others, the ministry said. CNN cannot independently verify these numbers.
However, the impact on medical facilities has raised concerns about the dire humanitarian situation for those remaining in northern Gaza.According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Ramallah, the majority of Gaza’s hospitals (18 out of 35) have ceased functioning., The organization announced Thursday that it was extracting figures from areas controlled by Hamas.
Additionally, 71% of all primary care facilities are closed due to damage or lack of fuel, the ministry said. The statement said hospitals that remain open are limited in what they can offer and are gradually closing their doors.
Meanwhile, top UN human rights official Volker Türk said on Friday that no place in the Gaza Strip was safe for civilians and questioned Israel’s unilateral establishment of a “safe zone” in the Strip. presented.
A stream of Palestinians, including women, children and the elderly, is heading south, with increasing numbers fleeing along daily evacuation corridors announced by the Israeli military.
“Too many Palestinians have been killed and too many people have suffered in recent weeks,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Friday, adding that Israel’s attack on Gaza had taken a toll on civilians. This was one of the most direct criticisms of
This story has been updated with additional developments.