Israeli Forces Bombard Last Functional Gaza Hospital

12:00 Jan 9 2024 Shuhada al-Aqsa Hospital (مستشفى شهداء الأقصى) in Deir al-Balah (دير البلح), Gaza

Israeli Forces Bombard Last Functional Gaza Hospital
Al-Aqsa Hospital, Gaza. Published by IMEMC News

by IMEMC News
Jan 9, 2024

Dozens of Palestinians were killed and wounded Sunday as Israeli forces attacked the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Dir al-Balah, the last remaining functional hospital in the Gaza Strip. The World Health Organization and Doctors Without Borders have been forced to evacuate their staff from the hospital.

The Israeli military targeted the vicinity of Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir Al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip, which led to the death and injury of a number of Palestinian civilians.

Thousands of Palestinian civilians, mainly family members of wounded patients, have taken shelter in the grounds of hospitals in different parts of Gaza during Israel’s 94-day long onslaught.

In early December, the Al-Shifa Hospital came under Israeli attack, with just 24 hours notice to staff to evacuate more than 2,300 patients, staff and internally displaced people sheltering at the hospital – even though there were no ambulances or means to transfer the patients.

Al-Shifa hospital director Mohammad Abu Salmiya said at the time, “I cannot imagine that in the 21st century hospitals are being bombed, threatened, and patients evacuated”. He was taken hostage by the Israeli military during the raid, and has been held hostage for over a month by Israeli forces.

On Saturday, the Israeli army gave doctors, patients and those displaced one hour to evacuate the establishment, according to medical sources, even though there were no ambulances or means to transfer them.

The UN estimated 2,300 patients, staff, and displaced Palestinians were at Al-Shifa before the Israeli military stormed the medical compound last week.

On December 17th and 18th, the Nasser Medical Complex in Khan Younis in southern Gaza came under attack by Israeli forces for 48 hours straight, causing a number of casualties, including the death of 13-year old patient Dina Abu Mehsen.

Following that attack, Gaza Health Ministry spokesperson Ashraf al-Qidra told Al Jazeera Media network that Israeli forces were trying to eliminate healthcare centers in Gaza, saying, “What the occupation is doing is part of the scenario that began in northern Gaza from the Shifa complex. Targeting Nasser Medical Complex is part of the occupation’s policy to eliminate the health sector, to bring down the health system in the southern Gaza Strip.”

Following the attack on the Al-Aqsa Hospital on Sunday, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken traveled to Israel to pledge continued US support for Israel’s attack on the civilian population of Gaza. On Monday, US Vice President Kamala Harris issued a statement reiterating “our steadfast support for Israel and its right to defend itself in the face of threats from Hamas”.

There has been no evidence that Hamas fighters have ever been located in or near any Gaza hospitals. Israeli claims of finding a ‘weapons cache’ in the al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City were quickly debunked by video evidence showing that the Israeli military had carried the weapons into the hospital themselves and planted them behind an MRI machine. That MRI machine was the only operational one in the entire Gaza Strip, with a population of 2.4 million people, and Israel’s assault on the hospital rendered it entirely out of service.

Medical sources pointed out that the Israeli occupation forces committed 12 massacres in the Gaza Strip during the past 24 hours, resulting in the death of 113 citizens and the injury of 250 others.

In an ongoing and ever-increasing number, the death toll in the Gaza Strip since the start of the aggression on the seventh of October has risen to 22,835 killed, more than 70% of whom are women and children, and 58,316 wounded, in addition to 7,000 people missing under the rubble.

An estimated 8,000 of those killed are children under age 18 – many of them infants and children under 5, buried under the rubble of their homes. 953 Israelis were killed on October 7th, 2023, in an attack by Hamas fighters from Gaza. An estimated 600 of those killed were civilians – although recent evidence has emerged that many of the Israeli civilians killed on October 7th were not killed by Hamas fighters, but by Israeli airstrikes and tank fire.

Over 100 Israeli civilians are still being held as prisoners by Hamas in Gaza, while Israeli officials have refused to negotiate for their release, and instead continue to pound civilian structures in Gaza – including schools, hospitals, mosques and churches.
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