Medic says Gaza hospital under Israeli occupation siege for fifth day

AFP , Thursday 23 May 2024

A senior official at Al-Awda Hospital in northern Gaza said it was under Israeli military siege for a fifth straight day Thursday after soldiers stormed it the previous day.

Palestinians are waiting for aid trucks to cross in central Gaza Strip on Sunday, May 19, 2024.
Palestinians are waiting for aid trucks to cross in central Gaza Strip on Sunday, May 19, 2024. AP


"We are still under siege for the fifth day in a row," the hospital's acting director, Dr Mohammad Saleh, told AFP.

"Soldiers are present in the hospital's courtyard and nearby houses," he said, adding that there was "continuous gunfire and shelling" towards it.

Occupation troops stormed the hospital building on Wednesday evening, he said.

"The hospital was stormed and staff were forced to leave. At the moment I have only 13 staff, 11 patients and two women accompanying wounded children," Saleh said.

World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on social media platform X that 140 staff, patients and accompanying adults were inside the hospital when troops stormed it.

The WHO visited Al-Awda regularly in April to deliver medical supplies and fuel. Still, on Tuesday Ghebreyesus said snipers were targeting the building and artillery had hit the fifth floor.

On Tuesday, patients and staff were also evacuated from another hospital in northern Gaza, Kamal Adwan, its director, Dr Hossam Abu Safia, told AFP at the time.

"These are the only two functional hospitals remaining in northern Gaza. Ensuring their ability to deliver health services is imperative," Ghebreyesus said in Geneva.

Israeli occupation troops have previously raided other medical facilities in Gaza, including Al-Shifa in Gaza City, the territory's largest hospital, which was reduced to rubble after an operation in March, the WHO said.

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