'Death warrant': Thousands trapped in war-hit Gaza hospital

'Death warrant': Thousands trapped in war-hit Gaza hospital
2 min read
12 November, 2023
Palestinians seeking refuge at Gaza's largest hospital and staff said they were trapped in increasingly horrific conditions
Many have taken shelter in northern Gaza's hospitals which have been repeatedly hit explosive strikes and gunfire. [Getty]

Thousands of displaced Palestinians looked to Gaza's largest hospital, Al-Shifa, as a safe haven, but with Israeli strikes intensifying and the fighting reaching the gates of the compound, there seems nowhere for them to escape.

Crowds of people have crammed into the corridors of Al-Shifa to escape Israel's attacks, adding to the overwhelming number of war casualties at the hospital.

The facility was hit repeatedly overnight in a new round of strikes that knocked out the power for several hours, its director said.

The outage had resulted in the death of two premature babies, the NGO Physicians for Human Rights Israel said, citing doctors inside the hospital.

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Many of the displaced were afraid to leave the hospital, with medics including from Doctors Without Borders (MSF) saying they saw people being shot at as they attempted to flee the hospital.

Israel launched its offensive in Gaza following Hamas' surprise October 7 attack, that led to the killings about 1,200 people, and taking around 240 hostages, according to Israeli officials.

Since October 7, Israel has been attacking the besieged territory with relentless bombardments and a ground campaign that the Palestinian health ministry in Gaza says has killed more than 11,000 people, mostly civilians and many of them children.

The United Nations humanitarian agency (OCHA) said Israeli bombardments around hospitals in Gaza City and the north of the Palestinian territory intensified on Friday, with "several being directly hit".

Some 20 out of 36 hospitals throughout Gaza are "no longer functioning", according to OCHA.

MSF denounced the intense battles around the facility as the "death warrant of civilians currently trapped in Al-Shifa hospital signed by the Israeli military".