Israeli army forces evacuation of Shifa hospital

Ahram Online , Saturday 18 Nov 2023

The Israeli army ordered patients, refugees, and medical staff to evacuate the Al-Shifa Medical Complex in Gaza City, where more than 2,000 patients, medics and displaced people were trapped by the occupation army, forcing them to make the more than 20-kilometre-long trek south on foot.

Palestinians wounded in the Israeli bombardment wait for treatment in Shifa Hospital in Gaza City
Palestinians wounded in the Israeli bombardment wait for treatment in Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.


Medical sources in Gaza reported about five doctors stayed with the 530 remaining critically ill and wounded patients who are unable to walk.

Palestine News Agency (WAFA) reported the evacuees were forced to flee in single file past Israeli tanks, raising their hands and carrying white flags.

The evacuees are headed south along Salah El-Din Street, the main north-south highway in the Gaza Strip, to Deir Al-Balah in central Gaza. The journey of over 20 kilometres is bound to be difficult, with many of the evacuees having to navigate the partially destroyed road while pushing wheelchairs and sickbeds.

Columns of sick and injured -- some of them amputees -- displaced people, doctors and nurses, were seen making their way out of the hosiptal towards the seafront without ambulances as loud explosions were heard around the facility, an AFP journalist reported.

On the way, at least 15 bodies, some in advanced stages of decomposition, along a road lined by badly damaged shops and overturned vehicles as Israeli drones buzzed overhead.

The head of the bone surgery department, Adnan Al-Barsh, tearfully conveyed on a live broadcast on Al Jazeera: "I swear we did everything we could do until the very last moment."

Israeli forces besieged Al-Shifa Medical Complex for nine days, destroying its medical equipment and causing the death of wounded people and a number of premature babies.

The director-general of hospitals in Gaza said: "All of the 22 patients who were in the intensive care unit, in addition to six dialysis patients, who were in Al-Shifa have died."

Several buildings were bombed, including the cardiac building on the western side of the complex.


Al-Shifa Medical Complex is affiliated with the Palestinian Ministry of Health and is the largest medical centre in the Gaza Strip.

It was established in 1946 during the British Mandate and started as small kiosks providing medical care to patients. It developed over time and became the largest medical complex in the Gaza Strip where 25 percent of the entire hospital workers in the Gaza Strip work.

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