Israeli army bulldozed and killed 20 displaced Palestinians at Kamal Adwan Hospital in North Gaza: Eyewitnesses

Yasmine Osama Farag , Sunday 17 Dec 2023

Israeli forces bulldozed injured and displaced Palestinians who were sheltering on the grounds of Kamal Adwan Hospital in Beit Lahia in north Gaza on Saturday, killing at least 20 and injuring more, according to eyewitnesses.

Israeli army


Doctors, local journalists, and other witnesses said the Israeli army bulldozed displaced Palestinians sheltering in tents on the hospital grounds, crushing many to death and injuring others.

"They raided the building, and they took all the employees for investigation, also the injured people were being investigated," said Ahmed Al Kahlout, a doctor at the hospital.

A video uploaded by Al-Jazeera videographer and reporter Anas Al-Sharif showed scenes of the destroyed courtyard, including what appeared to be human remains buried under bricks and rubble.

In the video, Al-Sharif explained that Israeli forces had withdrawn, but that “a major despicable act occurred at Kamal Adwan.”

Showing what appeared to be the partially buried limb of one victim to the camera, he said: “This is the body of an injured refugee who was in the hospital … the Israeli bulldozers ran him over.”

“We cannot describe the situation … tens of bodies run over by Israeli bulldozers,” Al-Sharif said as the camera panned around the yard, showing body parts amid heaps of rubble.

Ahram Online could not independently verify the videos and images captured at Kamal Adwan in the aftermath of the Israeli raid.

Ahram Online was able to confirm the identity of the buildings in the Al Jazeera video by matching them to footage published by the Israeli army only days earlier, showing them arresting numerous people, and to pre-war pictures of the hospital’s main gate.

In tandem, images posted by Palestinian journalist Mahmoud Sabah after the bulldozer attack at the same angle as the Israeli footage confirm that the damage visible in the Al Jazeera footage was done during the interceding period.

Ahram Online was also able to geolocate the footage using commercially available satellite imagery from 2022, confirming which areas were attacked.

Kamal Adwan - Satellite image - 2022 - courtesy of Google Earth

The Al Jazeera footage shows two distinct areas, marked X in the overhead imagery, which were reportedly destroyed by Israeli bulldozers: the hospital’s northeast courtyard facing the main street, and a rear parking lot, both of which appear to have housed displaced people.

In addition to flattening tents, the Israelis reportedly bulldozed vehicles, light structures, and a low building on the southern edge of the parking lot. 

Last resort

Since 7 October, Kamal Adwan has treated thousands of injured Palestinians and served as a shelter for many more fleeing indiscriminate Israeli bombardment.

The burden on the hospital increased after the Israeli army ransacked the nearby Al-Shifa Medical Complex, the largest hospital in the strip, and knocked it out of service.

Today, the hospital is one of only 11 medical facilities operating in the whole strip and one of a few still operating in the north as hundreds of thousands of Palestinians defy Israeli pressure to move south.

Deliberately targeted

Several Palestinian eyewitnesses told Al Jazeera that the Israeli bulldozers deliberately targeted civilians on the hospital grounds.

“People were buried alive using bulldozers. Who could do that? All those who committed this crime should be brought to justice and taken to the international criminal court,” a witness said.

“The bulldozer destroyed a great deal of the hospital’s facilities,” reported Al Jazeera’s Hani Mahmoud from Rafah on Sunday.

“It crushed people and their tents in the courtyard and some 20 people were crushed and buried under the rubble,” he added.

Palestinian Health Minister Mai Alkaila called for the international community to investigate the tragedy, urging them to take it seriously and not remain silent about reports of war crimes coming from the Gaza Strip.

Alkaila explained that the occupation forces deliberately removed the wounded from Kamal Adwan Hospital into the open in extremely cold weather and assaulted medical staff, posing a serious threat to the lives of the wounded and patients.

She pointed out that the Israeli army destroyed the southern part of the hospital, and 12 infants are still inside the incubators in the hospital without water or food. The Israeli army has reportedly prevented their evacuation, according to medical staff testimonies.

Israeli army opens fire at live press conference


On Sunday, the Israeli army opened fire as doctors and medical staff at Kamal Adwan Hospital held a live press conference urgently pleading with the international community to pressure Israel to stop its war on medical facilities in the strip.

After ducking from Israeli fire, the doctors regrouped at a different location on the hospital grounds and completed their press conference.

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