Death toll in Al-Shifa hospital rises to 6 babies, 9 patients as all hospitals in northern Gaza 'out of service'

AFP , Monday 13 Nov 2023

A premature baby and two patients have died in Gaza's Al-Shifa hospital, the Palestinian health ministry said Monday, bringing the toll to six babies and nine patients as the facility suffered fuel shortages.

A Palestinian child wounded in Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip is brought to a hospital in Khan Younis, Sunday, Nov. 12, 2023. AP


The hospital, Gaza's largest, has suffered energy shortages for days as it has been caught amid intense Israeli bombardment and fighting.

Youssef Abu Rish, deputy health minister in Gaza, 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.

Israel claimed on Saturday that it would 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 claimed 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.
Earlier, the World Health Organization said that Al-Shifa Hospital is “not functioning as a hospital anymore.”

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus tweets that the UN body has restored communication with its contacts at the Gaza Strip’s biggest hospital, lamenting that “the situation is dire and perilous,” that the doctors are working without electricity or water and that “the number of patient fatalities has increased significantly.”

He calls for an immediate ceasefire.

Israel is facing intense international pressure to minimise civilian suffering amid a massive air and ground operation that has already killed more than 11,000 people, including thousands of children.


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