At least 179 people died and buried as Shifa hospital ran out of fuel - Day 39 as it happened

Ahram Online , Wednesday 15 Nov 2023

39 days into Israel's brutal war on Gaza, ceaseless Israeli attacks persist facing fierce resistance in the north. Al-Shifa, Gaza's main hospital, is "nearly a cemetery", according to the WHO, as patients and medical staff are trapped amidst ongoing assaults. Fuel shortages, restricted by Israel from entering the strip, resulted in the death of at least 32 people including six children, while dozens of premature babies and 45 kidney patients in need of dialysis couldn't receive adequate treatment, the UN says.

war on Gaza
Palestinians evacuate a wounded woman following an Israeli airstrike in Khan Younis refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, Monday, Nov. 13, 2023. AP


00:05 The U.N. Security Council is negotiating a new resolution that demands “immediate extended humanitarian pauses” throughout the Gaza Strip but makes no mention of a cease-fire.

The resolution, drafted by Malta, does demand that “all parties” comply with their obligations under international law.

The Security Council has rejected four resolutions on the war, and many of its 15 members have said they don't want a vote on a new resolution unless it's going to be approved.

The draft, obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press, says the pauses should be “for a sufficient number of days” to open humanitarian corridors and enable unhindered access for U.N., Red Cross and other aid workers to get water, electricity, fuel, food and medical supplies to those in need as well as to repair essential infrastructure and enable urgent rescue and recovery efforts.

23:00 At least 179 people, including babies and adult patients who died in the intensive care unit, were buried in a "mass grave" at Gaza's biggest hospital, said director Mohammad Abu Salmiya.

Seven babies and 29 intensive care patients were among those buried after hospital fuel supplies ran out at the Al-Shifa compound, which is caught in intense fighting between Israel and Hamas.

22:15 The families of captives held by Palestinian resistance urgently demand the war cabinet to approve a deal tonight to bring home all captives from Gaza, the Hostages and Missing Families Forum said in a statement, as earlier, US President Joe Biden said he believed that an agreement with Hamas to free the captives would happen.

21:20 Israel’s defense minister says the war on Gaza will take many months to complete.

In a nationally televised press conference Tuesday night, Yoav Gallant said that Hamas has “lost control” of the northern Gaza Strip and that Israel has also made great gains in Gaza City, the militant group’s stronghold.

“This entire city is one terror stronghold that the army is able to maneuver and operate in very well,” he said.

But asked about the timeframe for the war ahead, Gallant said: “We’re talking about long months, not a day or two.”

20:45 The Israeli army says it has intercepted a long-range missile that was headed toward the Red Sea resort town of Eilat.

The missile strike set off air-raid sirens in Eilat. The army said its Arrow missile defense system intercepted the projectile before it reached Israeli airspace.

Israeli media said the missile appears to have been launched from Yemen.

20:40 The head of the UN said Tuesday he was "deeply disturbed by the horrible situation" in Gaza hospitals, as the facilities struggle without power and with mounting numbers of decomposing bodies during the Israeli bombardment of the territory.

"In the name of humanity, the Secretary-General calls for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire." Antonio Guterres's spokesman said in a statement

20:15 The head of Israel's internal security agency Shabak arrived in Egypt on Tuesday and held talks with Egyptian officials. The talks focused on the long-awaited humanitarian truce in Gaza and the prisoner exchange issue, official sources told Egyptian news outlet Extra News.

18:40 Hamas on Tuesday denounced Israeli army claims that a discarded baby bottle, makeshift toilet, and bullet-scarred motorbike were evidence the militants held hostages inside a Gaza hospital.

On Monday evening, army spokesman Daniel Hagari alleged that his troops "found signs that indicate that Hamas held hostages" in the basement of Al-Rantisi children's hospital in Gaza City.

In a statement, the ministry said the video was "poor staging" with "not a single piece of evidence" backing the Israeli army claims.

"This basement appeared in the original blueprints of the hospital as a storage area and displaced people found refuge there," it added.

17:05 The Israeli military says it has seized a series of government buildings in central Gaza City as its offensive against the ruling Hamas militant group advances.

The army said Tuesday that it has captured Gaza’s legislature building, the Hamas police headquarters and a compound housing Hamas’ military intelligence headquarters.

“In every location, the enemy forces were eliminated, the location was demolished,” an Israeli commander identified only as Lt. Col. Gilad said in a video from Gaza released by the army. He said documents and other items taken from the locations were being studied.

The captured buildings carry high symbolic value, though it was unclear what their strategic value is. Hamas fighters are believed to be positioned in underground bunkers.

Israeli news sites showed pictures of Israeli soldiers hoisting the Israeli national flag and military flags in some of the buildings.

16:25 Hamas Spokesman Ossama Hamdan, speaking from Beirut, said: "We have urged the United Nations to dispatch a delegation to conduct inspections within hospitals across Gaza,” to verify Israeli claims that the armed group is using these hospitals as military bases. 

He said that Israel's allegations of tunnels beneath Al-Rantisi Hospital are pure propaganda.

Hamdan also said that Hamas is willing to free the Israeli captives but Netanyahu is obstructing their release and prolonging the war for personal motivations. The Israeli PM doesn't care about the captives or his soldiers in the field, the spokesman added.

16:02 Al-Qassam Brigades announced the killing of 7 more Israeli soldiers in the northern of Gaza City.

15:17 The Palestinian Red Crescent (PRCS) said its teams received 155 trucks loaded with aid from the Egyptian Red Crescent through the Rafah crossing.

"These trucks are the latest arrivals following UNRWA's announcement that it had to halt aid reception today due to fuel depletion in the trucks," the PRCS.

"Unfortunately, the Israeli occupying authorities have not permitted the entry of fuel so far," it added.

15:05 The Egyptian State Council's administrative court announced its decision to deliver a verdict on 27 November in a lawsuit demanding the dismissal of Israel's ambassador in Egypt due to the Israeli war on Gaza.
The lawsuit, filed by lawyer Fahmi Bahgat against the president, prime minister, and foreign minister, emphasizes the "heinous crimes committed by the Israeli entity" and urges the cessation of all Egyptian-Israeli relations.

14:29 Egypt Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry strongly rejected all attempts by Israel to frame the displacement of Palestinians as "voluntary," emphasizing that "the forced exodus of Gaza residents results from deliberate military targeting of civilians in the area, deliberate blockade operations, and intentional starvation tactics."

"These strategies aim to coerce citizens into vacating their homes and places of residence, constituting a blatant war crime as defined by the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949," Shoukry told reporters.

He further added that "any endorsement or advocacy for the displacement of Palestinians outside the Gaza Strip is unequivocally rejected, both by Egypt and the international community."

The top Egyptian diplomat criticized the surge in "irresponsible statements by officials in the Israeli government." These statements, he asserted, "fundamentally contradict established principles within international law and humanitarian standards."

14:15 The total death toll of Palestinians killed by Israel in Gaza rose to 11,240, according to the governement media office.

The toll since includes 4,630 children and 3,130 women, the media office spokesperson said.

14:07 Around 400 individuals, including Egyptians and dual nationals, were successfully evacuated from Gaza to Egypt on Tuesday via the Rafah border crossing on Tuesday, reported Extra News.

However, this figure falls significantly short of the number of people initially announced by the Palestinian General Authority for Crossings and Borders (GAFC) who were scheduled to be evacuated from Gaza on the same day.

According to the GAFC lists, a total of 159 Egyptians and around 587 individuals from various countries such as the United States, Spain, the United Kingdom, Finland, Kazakhstan, Romania, Germany, Russia, Sweden, Denmark, and North Macedonia were expected to be evacuated today.

13:50 A group of Palestinians living in the US and the occupied Palestinian territories filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration, seeking to halt further diplomatic and military support to Israel, Middle East Eye reported.

The lawsuit, filed byAl-Haq and Defense for Children International, accuses the US of failing to "prevent an unfolding genocide" against the Palestinian people amid Israel's assault on Gaza.

“This unfolding genocide of the Palestinian people in Gaza has so far been made possible because of the unconditional support given by … President Joseph Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, constituting a breach of US responsibilities under customary international law, as codified in the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide,” the lawsuit read.

Legal experts, UN officials and more than 800 scholars have warned that Israel is potentially committing genocide against Palestinians. When it comes to the issue of genocide, many experts refer to the definition outlined in Article II of the UN’s Genocide Convention and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

12:20 The Al-Quds Brigades have reported engaging in intense clashes against Israeli forces who have infiltrated downtown Gaza City.

12:04 The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that more than half of Gaza's hospitals, specifically 22 out of 36, are currently deemed "non-functional."

In a statement posted on X, the WHO say this is due to "lack of fuel, infrastructural damage, attacks, and prevailing insecurity."

The WHO, which called for immediate ceasefire, indicated that the remaining 14 hospitals possess only "barely adequate supplies" to carry out life-saving surgeries and provide essential inpatient care.

11:46 Israel Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara warned cabinet ministers to watch their words when they speak about the ongoing war against in Gaza, cautioning that some remarks may violate international law and thereby provide ammunition to Israel’s enemies, Israeli media reported.

She reportedly issued the warning during a closed-door meeting with ministers during which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also chastised the participants over their statements.

"These remarks give support to those who wish us ill because they are against the rule of international law and are interpreted as a war crime," Baharav-Miara said at the Monday meeting, according to the report.

The Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu already issued a similar warning at the cabinet meeting on Sunday when he told ministers, "every word has meaning when it comes to diplomacy. If you don’t know — don’t speak."

Israeli agriculture Minister Avi Dichter said that the war was "Gaza’s Nakba" — the Arabic word for "catastrophe" used to describe the forced displacement and killing  of Palestinians by zionist gangs amid the 1948 partition plan that led to the creation of Israel.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant described the Palestinians  as “human animals,” that "will be deprived of food, electricity, and fuel," while Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu said that "dropping a nuclear bomb on the Gaza Strip was one of the possibilities".

11:30 Tens of thousands more people have been forced to move on foot from north to south Gaza, the UNRWA says.

"For many Palestinians, this exodus is reminiscent of the original displacement of more than 700,000 people from their towns and villages in 1948, also known as the Nakba."

11:25 The Israeli occupation army confirmed the death of Noa Marciano, a woman soldier held captive in Gaza by Palestinian resistance group Hamas.

On Monday, Al-Qassam Brigades published a video of the soldier, showing her speaking to the camera four days after being taken hostage. 

The Brigades said Marciano was killed in an Israeli airstrike on 9 November. 

11:20 China, Iran and a multitude of Arab nations condemned an Israeli minister’s statement that a nuclear bomb on the Gaza was an option, calling it a threat to the world.

At a United Nations conference whose goal is to establish a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East, many ambassadors expressed condemnations and criticisms of comments by Israel’s Heritage Minister Amihai Eliyahu.

China’s deputy U.N. ambassador Geng Shuang said Beijing was “shocked,” calling the statements “extremely irresponsible and disturbing” and should be universally condemned.

Oman’s U.N. Ambassador Mohamed Al-Hassan, speaking on behalf of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, said the threat to use nuclear weapons in Gaza “reaffirms the extremes and brutality of the Israeli occupation against the Palestinian people” and their “disregard for innocent life," while Lebanon’s Charge d’Affaires Hadi Hachem stressed that “this self-acknowledgment of having nuclear weapons and the threat of using them by its officials, poses a serious threat to both regional and international peace and security."

Iran’s U.N. Ambassador Amir Iravani told the conference “the secrecy surrounding Israel’s nuclear capabilities poses a significant threat to regional stability,” he said.

11:11 The spokesman for the Palestinian Red Crescent in Gaza says that Al-Quds Hospital is being bombed by Israel now." We cannot evacuate the sick and wounded people," he said on Al Jazeera tv.

10:45 El-Arish International Airport received four planes on Tuesday, transporting 37 tons of humanitarian aid destined for Gaza from Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and Poland, said Khaled Zayed, the head of the Egyptian Red Crescent in North Sinai.

10:32 Al-Shifa hospital director Mohammad Abu Salmiyah said the hospital has been forced to bury 179 people “in a mass grave” in the hospital premises following the complete collapse of hospital services.

He explained that among them were 7 children who died due to the power outage.

"We were forced to bury them in a mass grave. The bodies are scattered in the hospital corridors, and electricity is cut off from the mortuary refrigerators," he added as  Israeli tanks and snipers are encircling the

complex since Friday, making movement around it impossible.

10:42 The Director General of Gaza Hospitals told Al Jazeera that the Israeli occupation forces presents claims to justify its aggression on hospitals. He revealed that, following the Israeli blockade, all hospitals in Gaza have ceased providing maternity services, except for Al-Awda Hospital in Jabalia, which operates under exceptional circumstances.


10:20 Indonesian President Joko Widodo pressed his US counterpart, Joe Biden, to take further steps to bring about a ceasefire.

"Indonesia appealed to the US to do more to stop the atrocities in Gaza," Widodo said following talks at the White House.

"This [a ceasefire] is a must for the sake of humanity."

He earlier said he would bring Biden a “very strong message” from a joint summit of Arab and Muslim leaders over the weekend, which called for the war to end and condemned Israel.

Widodo also said ahead of his meeting with the US president that he would deliver a specific message to Biden from Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.

The US has so far refused calls for a ceasefire and advocate for longer humanitarian pauses only.

10:00 The Israeli occupation army says that 46 Israeli soldiers were killed in Gaza since the start of the war.

9:45 Another 200,000 people have fled northern Gaza in the laste 10 days, the U.N. humanitarian office, OCHA, said Tuesday, as Israeli ground forces battle Palestinian resistance around hospitals.

The OCHA says only one hospital in the north is capable of receiving patients. All the others are no longer able to function and mostly serve as shelters from the fighting, including Gaza’s largest, Shifa, which is surrounded by Israeli troops and where 36 babies are at risk of dying because there is no power for incubators.

9:10 The UN's Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA said its fuel depot in Gaza has run dry.

UNRWA Director of Communications Juliet Touma told the BBC this will put the largest humanitarian operation in the Gaza Strip "in jeopardy".

The agency will be unable to pick up aid supplies brought into the territory from Egypt tomorrow morning, she said.

"We will not be able to drive our cars and deliver flour to bakeries, we will not be able to give any fuel to medical facilities - we did that today, that was the last run," she told the BBC. 

"We have 780,000 people sheltering with us - we will not be able to serve them," the UNRWA official added

Touma said UNRWA had been using fuel from the private sector and from a depot in "close coordination" with the Israel, but now "even that has now run out."

9:02 Israel’s extremist Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich called on Palestinians to leave Gaza, saying he backs "voluntary immigration" of "Gaza Arabs" to third-party countries, endorsing a suggestion that appeared in an opinion piece by two Israeli lawmakers.

In the piece, published in the Wall Street Journal, former Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon and former Deputy Director of the Mossad Ram Ben-Barak called on "countries worldwide to accept limited numbers of Gazan families who seek relocation" and propose that "even if each country welcomed as few as 10,000 people."

Israel, he said, "will no longer be able to accept the existence of an independent entity in Gaza."

On his account on X, Smotrich described the suggestion as the right solution.

Palestinians along with Arab countries have strongly cautioned against the forced displacement of Palestinians, including the so-called evacuation Gaza's population. The US has also rejected the idea. 

"I have heard directly from Palestinian Authority President [Mahmoud] Abbas and from virtually every other leader that I have talked to in the region that the idea [of relocating Gaza residents] is a nonstarter, and so we do not support it. We believe that people should be able to stay in Gaza, their home. But we also want to make sure that they are out of harm’s way and that they are getting the assistance they need," US Secretary Antony Blinken has said.

9:00 Al Jazeera reported that 13 Palestinians were killed earlier today by an Israeli airstrike in Khan Younis, in the south of the Gaza Strip. It is one of the areas that Palestinians have been ordered to evacuate to by the Israeli army.

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