Gaza asks for UN assistance to evacuate three hospitals besieged by Israel

The authorities in the Strip fear that, in addition to the more than 14,000 people killed during the war, there are between 5,000 and 6,000 unrecovered bodies

Luis de Vega
Israel-Hamas War
Injured Palestinians last Thursday at the Indonesian Hospital in the Gaza Strip.STRINGER (REUTERS)

The war and its consequences are advancing on Israel’s three open fronts: Gaza, the West Bank, and the border with Lebanon. In the Strip, where more than 14,000 people have already died, fighting continues in the north between Israeli troops and Palestinian resistance forces, while bombing continues in the south. Israeli attacks on hospitals, where hundreds of patients and thousands of civilians are taking refuge, are continuing as denounced by the authorities in the enclave, where Hamas governs. Meanwhile, the United Nations is attempting to evacuate three hospitals in the north that have asked for help amid the shelling. Among them is the Al Shifa hospital, the largest in the Strip.

The Palestinian Red Crescent on Tuesday reported the deaths of three doctors in an attack on the Al Awda hospital in the north of the Strip. Doctors Without Borders confirmed that two of them worked for the organization. Jordan, for its part, has complained that Israel ordered it to evacuate the field hospital it operates in Gaza, although it does not plan to comply, according to a public statement by Prime Minister Bisher Khasawneh.

The latest death toll in Gaza is 14,128, including 5,600 children and 3,550 women, according to health officials in the Strip, who added that they fear there are between 5,000 and 6,000 unrecovered bodies. The Israeli army is maintaining a siege on Gaza’s hospitals as one of the main targets of its offensive.

In recent hours, the Israeli military has continued its attack on the Indonesian hospital, in the north, and the Al Aqsa hospital in the south. The former is surrounded by troops and tanks and under constant shellfire, according to a Gaza Health Ministry spokesman, who added that “dozens” of corpses are crowded in different rooms of the center in a “tragic” and “indescribable” situation. The director of Al Aqsa, Iyad Abo Zaher, reported through the same spokesman that the hospital is unable to care for the wounded and that diseases are becoming more frequent among children. UNICEF spokesman James Elder referred to the risk of a “massive outbreak of disease,” which could increase the infant mortality rate amid overcrowding.

Three hospitals have asked for help to be evacuated from under the Israeli army siege, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), which acknowledges it is trying to draw up the necessary plan to carry out such an operation. None of the medical centers in the northern part of the Strip are able to function normally, although they continue to receive patients and citizens seeking refuge. The three that have requested evacuation — Al Shifa, Al Ahli and the Indonesian hospital — have been under attack by Israeli troops for weeks.

Violence in the West Bank and Lebanon

Israeli forces have carried out a new armed incursion in the West Bank, this time in the Balata refugee camp, near Nablus, where a teenager was shot in the chest, according to the Ministry of Health of the Palestinian National Authority. The border with Lebanon is also subject to constant shelling and air strikes. The Lebanese authorities reported the death of eight people, two of them journalists, on Tuesday.

The death of these two reporters, who worked for the Al Mayadeen television network, brings to three the number of reporters killed while covering the war near the Lebanese border. The third was Reuters cameraman Isam Abdullah, who was killed on 13 October in what Reporters Without Borders called a “deliberate attack.” A report by the Committee to Protect Journalists reported on Monday, prior to the latest attack, that 48 journalists or media employees have been killed since the war began on October 7. Of these, 43 died in Gaza, 4 in Israel, and 1 in Lebanon.

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