Gaza: 13 patients die at Al-Shifa hospital, as Israel orders evacuation

Gaza: 13 patients die at Al-Shifa hospital, as Israel orders evacuation
Gaza's government media office said that 13 patients died as a result of Israeli military's siege on the hospital which cut off electricity supplies
19 min read
21 March, 2024

Thirteen patients have died at Al-Shifa as a result of Israel's siege on the hospital, Gaza's government media office said on Thursday, as Israel ordered the thousands sheltering inside to evacuate.

Four people on ventilators in the intensive care unit died after Israeli troops cut off electricity while others were starved off medicine, oxygen and food the office said.

There have also been increasing reports of arrests of medical staff and journalists, including a reporter from Alaraby TV, The New Arab's affiliate channel.

The Israeli military said its "precise operation" had killed "over 140 terrorists" inside the hospital complex, which it claims is a Hamas base, since the offensive began on Monday.

Over in the occupied West Bank, tensions have soared as Israeli forces killed nine Palestinians across the territory in the past day in a range of drone strikes and raids on towns, including a deadly drone attack on a car in Jenin which killed three men. Four people were killed during clashes at Nur Shams refugee camp, the Palestinian Red Crescent said on Thursday.

On the 167th day of the war in Gaza, more than 31,988 have been killed and 74,188 injured, according to figures from the health ministry there.

3:58 AM

The live blog has now ended and will be back tomorrow at 9am GMT. You can read more of The New Arab's coverage of Israel's war on Gaza here

Israel conducts raids in occupied West Bank
2:12 AM
The New Arab Staff

According to Al Jazeera and Palestinian news agency Wafa, Israeli forces are conducting numerous raids across the occupied West Bank, including in the cities of Tubas and Qalqilya, as well as towns and villages around the Jenin governate and south of Hebron. 


Israel bombs Rafah house killing eight
1:28 AM
The New Arab Staff

An Israeli airstrike on the Al-Nasr neighbourhood of Rafah killed eight people with others injured, according to Palestinian news agency Wafa.

The agency added that among those killed were three women and three children.

US conducts airdrop in northern Gaza
12:36 AM
The New Arab Staff

US Central Command (CENTCOM) announced it had conducted a humanitarian airdrop in Gaza at 1:30 pm on Tuesday, with two C-17 aircraft dropping 50,600 US meal equivalents into northern Gaza.

"The DoD humanitarian airdrops contribute to ongoing US and partner nation government efforts to alleviate human suffering," CENTCOM said in a statement on X.

CENTCOM added it would continue to plan follow up airdrops. 

CNN: Blinken urged Qatar to threaten expulsion of Hamas
12:11 AM
The New Arab Staff

According to CNN, Blinken told Qatari officials earlier this month to tell Hamas to release Israeli hostages currently held in Gaza and accept a hostage deal or face expulsion from the country. 

The message was reportedly delivered to the Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister on 5 March.

US military says it destroyed Houthi ballistic missiles
11:58 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

 The US military on Thursday said it had destroyed two anti-ship ballistic missiles and an unmanned surface vessel launched by Houthis from Yemen.

"It was determined these weapons presented an imminent threat to coalition and merchant vessels in the region," US Central Command wrote on social media site X.


Alicia Kearns MP reveals Cameron letter on Gaza aid
11:30 PM
The New Arab Staff

Conservative MP Alicia Kearns has released a letter on X from UK Foreign Minister David Cameron explaining the reasons for slow aid deliveries into Gaza.

This includes the arbitrary denial of aid, lengthy procedures and the closing of the Kerem Shalom crossing from Israel into Gaza on Saturdays. 

UNRWA: having babies in Gaza City 'not a joyful experience'
10:22 PM
The New Arab Staff

The Senior Deputy Director of UNRWA  Affairs in Gaza has said that "for the people that are in Gaza City having babies is not a joyful experience - it's just a frightening experience." 

"Mothers are concerned they won't be alive in two weeks. They are concerned that the hospital won't be here in two weeks, and they're trying to have babies early to give up their lives to preserve their baby's" 

Axios: Yoav Gallant set to visit US with list of weapons
9:33 PM
The New Arab Staff

Yoav Gallant is set to visit the US Capital on next week, bringing "a long list of US weapons Israel wants to receive in an expedited manner" according to reports from Axios citing unnamed US an Israeli officials. 



WHO losses contact with health personnel in al-Shifa
9:03 PM
The New Arab Staff

WHO Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said that it has lost contact with health personnel at Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City, and that the organisation is seeking information on the condition of patients at the hospital.

It added that accessing Al-Shifa is impossible and that there were reports health workers are being arrested and detained.

Ghebreyesus also added that "a planned mission to Al-Shifa today had to be cancelled due to lack of security."

"We repeat once again: hospitals are not battlegrounds. They must be protected in line with international humanitarian law."

EU leaders call for immediate pause and ceasefire in Gaza
8:28 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

European Union leaders called on Thursday for an "immediate" humanitarian pause in Gaza that would lead to a ceasefire.

"Strong and unified statement of EU leaders on the Middle East at #EUCO tonight!" Charles Michel, the president of the council, posted on social media platform X, formerly Twitter.

"The EU calls for an immediate humanitarian pause leading to a sustainable ceasefire."


US to bring Gaza resolution to UN Security Council on Friday
8:01 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The United States on Friday morning will bring a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza as part of a hostage deal to the United Nations Security Council for a vote, a spokesperson said.

"The United States has been working in earnest with Council members over the last several weeks on a Resolution that will unequivocally support ongoing diplomatic efforts aimed at securing an immediate ceasefire in Gaza as part of a hostage deal, which would get hostages released and help enable a surge in humanitarian aid," Nate Evans, spokesperson for the US mission to the United Nations, said on Thursday.


Arab ministers briefed Blinken on two-state solution: Egypt
7:27 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Arab ministers, along with a Palestinian official, in Cairo briefed US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on their vision on the current situation in Gaza and the necessity of a ceasefire followed by a political settlement via the implementation of a two-state solution, a statement from Egyptian Foreign ministry said Thursday.


Blinken: 'gaps are narrowing' in talks toward Gaza ceasefire
7:23 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Thursday the "the gaps are narrowing" in talks in Doha toward an agreement on the release of hostages and a ceasefire in Israel's conflict with Hamas in Gaza.

"Negotiators continue to work. The gaps are narrowing, and we're continuing to push for an agreement in Doha," Blinken said at a news conference in Cairo. "There’s still difficult work to get there. But I continue to believe it's possible."

"We've closed the gaps, but there are still gaps," he added.

Ahead of visiting Israel on Friday, Blinken said he agreed with Arab foreign minister in Cairo to gather experts in the coming days "to identify the urgent, practical and concrete steps that can and should be taken to increase the flow of assistance."

"Israel needs to do more" on humanitarian aid, Blinken added.


Israel says spy chief going to Doha for Gaza talks
7:16 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The head of Israel's spy agency is set to leave Friday to meet with his American and Egyptian counterparts and Qatar's prime minister in Doha for ongoing Gaza truce talks, Israel said.

"Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu approved an Israeli delegation led by Mossad head David Barnea to go to Qatar" on Friday, the Israeli premier's office said.

Alaraby TV journalist arrested by Israeli forces at Al-Shifa
5:42 PM
The New Arab

Alaraby TV network condemned the arrest of its journalist Mohammed Arab who was detained and taken by Israeli forces while covering the siege at Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, the Arabic language network said on Thursday.

The New Arab affiliated Alaraby said that they lost contact with Arab on Monday and his family said he had been arrested and taken to an unknown location on Wednesday night.

"Alaraby TV network demands the immediate release of our colleague Mohammed Arab and calls on organizations, associations, and media unions to pressure the occupation authorities to halt their practices against colleagues".

The Israeli military has been attacking the hospital since Monday trapping thousands inside and arbitrarily arrested and beat dozens of men, according to eyewitnesses. Al Jazeera Arabic said its reporter was detained and later released on Monday.

The New Arab and Alaraby TV network are affiliates under the Fadaat media group.

Al-Shifa: Israel says '600' arrested in hospital siege
5:24 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israel has been attacking Al-Shifa Hospital complex in Gaza City for four days where thousands of Palestinians have been trapped inside.

The military said on Thursday that "approximately 600 terrorists have been apprehended and more than 140 terrorists have been eliminated".

Israel claims the hospital compound is being used by Hamas fighters and has said it found weapons and "intelligence documents" during its searches.

Earlier on Thursday, eyewitnesses at the hospital said they have not received food or water for days and Israeli army arrested and beat Palestinian men, even the sick and infirm.

Israeli military: 'aerial target' from Red Sea intercepted
5:00 PM
The New Arab Staff

The Israeli military said in a statement that its air defence system successfully intercepted an "aerial target suspected of approaching Israeli territory from the area of the Red Sea".

“The target did not cross into Israeli territory, and the incident ended,” it said in a statement released via its Telegram channel.

Yemen's Houthi group has been launching missiles and drone attacks on ships and military vessels in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden which the group says are connected to Israel.

Lebanon PM: $20,000 compensation to Israeli strike victims
4:35 PM
William Christou

Lebanese Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati promised to compensate residents of Lebanon $20,000 to each family of victims, and $40,000 to those whose houses were completely destroyed by Israel, Lebanese paper al-Akhbar reported on Wednesday.

Southern Lebanon has been the site of intense cross-border fighting since Hezbollah launched rockets at Israel "in solidarity" with Hamas's surprise 7 October attack.

At least 52 civilians have been killed and 1,000 homes destroyed in Lebanon by Israel since fighting began. Around 91,000 people have been displaced from border regions by the violence.

Read more of the report here.

Gaza: 17,000 children now without parents
4:05 PM
The New Arab Staff

Over 17,000 children in Gaza are now unaccompanied or have been separated from their parents, the UN Palestinian refugee agency said on Thursday in a post to mark Mother's Day.

UNRWA said that one million children are suffering from loss, trauma, hunger and fear as Israel's relentless war on Gaza continues into its sixth month.

International NGO ActionAid, whose partners are operating in Gaza, said mothers have been forced to give birth in highly dangerous and unclean conditions and are lacking sanitary products and food.

They quote new mother Fatima who said: “I didn’t have proper food or drinks to help with my milk supply after I gave birth...I suffered many health complications after giving birth. I felt dizzy all the time and I could barely move.

Read more about Mother's Day in the Arab world in The New Arab's piece here.

Occupied West Bank: Palestinian forces disperse mourners
3:35 PM
Qassam Muaddi
West Bank

Palestinian security forces dispersed protesters in Jenin on Thursday, mourning the death of three men from the city killed in an Israeli air strike.

Israeli forces killed nine Palestinians in the last 24 hours, amid a spree of raids and airstrikes across the West Bank.

In the hours following the airstrike near Jenin, Palestinians mourning the deceased headed to the Palestinian Authority’s security headquarters in the city, and demanded the release of militants detained by the Palestinian security forces.

The mourners were quickly dispersed with live fire and tear gas, injuring three, while the unrest in the city continued until the morning.

Read more of the report from Qassam Muaddi in the West Bank here.

Israeli warplanes strike south Lebanon
3:00 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli warplanes struck south Lebanon on Thursday, including two rockets on Aita al-Shaab and striking Yaroun and Mays al-Jabal and the area of Kfarkela, next to the Israeli border, was hit by an air strike with Israeli forces claiming to have hit a "Hezbollah military compound".

Lebanese group Hezbollah said its militia struck Israel's military site at Al-Malikyah in the border zone with artillery shells on Thursday. Late on Wednesday, Hezbollah targeted various sites in Israel, including the town of Metula by the border wall, which also faces the Lebanese town of Khiam.

Further clashes took place into the night between Israeli forces and Hezbollah's forces around the border village of Aitaroun, near Bint Jbeil.

Israel and the Lebanese Shiite group have been engaged in near daily clashes since October 8, with the militia group joining the fight against Israel to support Palestinians in Gaza.

Read about Israel's new 'mountain brigade' designed to wage battles suitable for Lebanon's mountainous geography in The New Arab here.

WHO head Tedros calls for immediate ceasefire in Gaza
2:37 PM
The New Arab Staff

The head of the World Health Organisation Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, as Israeli forces raid Al-Shifa Hospital.

Tedros said an immediate cessation of hostilities was essential for critically needed food and medical supplies to enter the enclave, where the threat of famine and disease looms over.

"Only the expansion of land crossings will allow large scale aid deliveries to prevent famine," he said.

He also spoke about the continued Israeli military raids on health facilities in Gaza, where dozens of people are believed killed or detained, while a planned WHO mission to Al-Shifa was cancelled due to a lack of security.

"Once again, we call for medical facilities to be protected and not militarised, for the release of hostages and for an immediate ceasefire," Tedros said.

Al-Shifa: Israel took 'all men, disabled and the injured'
1:30 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

AFP news agency has spoken to witnesses from Israel's four day siege of Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.

Mariam, a 42-year-old patient, told AFP that shelling hit the maternity and internal medicine ward where she was staying on Wednesday night. "They asked us at around dawn with loudspeakers to go out or they would bomb the building" while they were inside, she said, speaking on condition that her full name not be used.

"We cannot go to the bathroom," she added. "We use buckets and pots to relieve ourselves."

Mariam, the patient, told AFP that Israeli forces "took all the men and young people over 16 years old, even the physically disabled and the injured".

She said the men were ordered to take off their clothes and go outside, charging that "they beat them with rifles and shot at them".

The Israeli army did not immediately provide comment to AFP regarding the accusations.


UK's Sunak avoids calling for outright Gaza ceasefire
1:00 PM
The New Arab Staff

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said on Wednesday that the UK is "doing all it can" to get more aid into war-torn Gaza and prevent a worsening crisis.

In a round of questions with MPs in the House of Commons on Wednesday, Sunak avoided calling for an outright ceasefire but said that Israel should be letting more aid into Gaza and admitted the current crisis was "unsustainable".

"The UK is doing all it can to get more aid in and to prevent this worsening crisis. We will do everything we can to alleviate the suffering the people are experiencing".

Labour MP Tahir Ali asked the prime minister if the UK government would join the 138 UN member states who have recognized the state of Palestine.

Sunak said he will do so "when it makes most beneficial sense for the overall peace process".

Israel will invade Rafah despite 'potential breach' with US
12:30 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel will take control of Rafah even if it causes a rift with the United States, a senior Israeli official said on Thursday, describing the Gazan city packed with refugees as a final Hamas bastion harbouring a quarter of the group's fighters.

"We're quite confident that we can do this in a way that would be effective - not only militarily, but also on the humanitarian side. And they have less confidence that we can do it," Israeli envoy Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer, said on the "Call Me Back with Dan Senor" podcast.

Dermer, a former ambassador to the United States, said Israel would hear out American ideas for Rafah, but the city on Gaza's border with Egypt would be taken whether or not the allies reach agreement:

"It will happen even if Israel is forced to fight alone. Even if the entire world turns on Israel, including the United States, we're going to fight until the battle's won."

Occupied West Bank: nine Palestinians killed in 24 hours
12:00 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli forces killed two Palestinians in separate incidents in the occupied West Bank on Thursday, increasing to nine the number of Palestinians killed in the territory over 24 hours, the Palestinian news agency Wafa reported.

A 19-year-old Palestinian died after being shot by Israeli forces in El Bireh near Ramallah on Thursday morning, the Palestinian health ministry said. Wafa said he was wounded during confrontations with Israeli forces.

South of Bethlehem, Israeli forces shot dead a 63-year-old Palestinian near settlement of El'azar, Wafa reported.

The Israeli military said soldiers had fired shots towards "a Palestinian who aroused their suspicion at the El'azar Junction".

Blinken and Sisi discuss ceasefire, US support for Egypt
11:30 AM
The New Arab Staff

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has concluded his meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi in Cairo on Thursday as part of a regional tour to push for a Gaza ceasefire.

The two officials discussed ways to secure "an immediate ceasefire" of six weeks and the release of captives in Gaza, according to a a US State Department handout.

"The Secretary reiterated the United States’ rejection of any forced displacement of Palestinians from Gaza and reaffirmed the US commitment to work with Egypt to advance peace and regional stability, including through the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with security guarantees for Israel," the statement read.

Blinken met with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman yesterday and is expected in Tel Aviv on Friday. Ceasefire talks have been stalled for weeks as Israel and Hamas offer opposing demands over sticking points of the truce, including Israel's desire to continue its military offensive.

Israeli forces order evacuation of Al Shifa: report
11:00 AM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli forces are ordering people to evacuate Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City and threatening to blow up the hospital. It has been under siege for four days, trapping thousands and terrorising those inside.

Al Jazeera Arabic network has broadcast footage filmed on a mobile phone from inside the compound in which an Israeli army order over loudspeaker is threatening to blow up the hospital unless people get out.

Food and water has not been allowed to enter the compound, Al Jazeera also reported.

There are believed to be around 30,000 people who have taken shelter in the vast hospital complex, including many injured and medical staff.

UN agencies, 36 countries consider aid via new sea corridor
10:30 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Officials from 36 countries and UN agencies gathered in Cyprus on Thursday to discuss how to expedite aid to besieged Palestinians in Gaza via a sea route launched last week.

Thursday's gathering is being attended by Sigrid Kaag, the UN's senior humanitarian and reconstruction coordinator for Gaza, as well as Curtis Ried, chief of staff of the US National Security Council.

"We are discussing how we can max up operational capacity both in terms of departure and means of transport and also in relation to the reception and distribution methodology," said Constantinos Kombos, Cyprus's foreign minister.

Delegates would also discuss the creation of a fund to coordinate operational activities of the initiative, Kombos said, although he clarified it was not a donor's conference.

Satellite images show 35 percent of Gaza destroyed
10:05 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Satellite imagery reveals that Israel's bombardment of Gaza has destroyed 35 percent of all buildings in the tiny territory, a United Nations satellite agency said.

In its assessment, the United Nations Satellite Centre, UNOSAT, used high-resolution satellite images collected on Feb. 29 and compared them with images taken before and after the start of the latest conflict.

It found that 35% of all buildings in the Gaza Strip - 88,868 structures - had been damaged or destroyed with the governorates of Khan Younis and Gaza experiencing significant increases in damage since its January analysis.

Netanyahu tells US Republicans Gaza war will continue
9:45 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told US Republican senators on Wednesday that Israel will continue its efforts to defeat the Palestinian group Hamas in the Gaza Strip, senators told reporters after he addressed a party lunch.

"He's going to do what he said he's going to do. He's going to finish it," Senator Jim Risch said.

The conservative Israeli leader spoke to Republicans via videolink nearly a week after the Senate's Democratic majority leader, Chuck Schumer, gave a Senate speech branding Netanyahu an obstacle to peace and urging new elections in Israel.

"We asked ... him for an update and we got it on the war, on the release of the hostages and in the efforts to defeat Hamas. We told him Israel has every right to defend themselves and he said that's exactly what they continue to do," Senator John Barrasso said.

Read the report here.

Nearly 32,000 killed as 65 dead and 92 injured in past day
9:20 AM
The New Arab Staff

More than 31,988 Palestinians have been killed and 74,188 injured in Israel's military offensive on Gaza since Oct. 7, the Gaza health ministry said on Thursday.

Some 65 Palestinians were killed and 92 injured in the past 24 hours, the ministry said.

Around 6,000 people are missing believed to be trapped under rubble across the territory.

Families stranded near Al-Shifa hospital call for help
9:00 AM
The New Arab (From the Arabic Edition)

Activists in Gaza said that many families stranded in the area surrounding Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City have launched appeals to the International Red Cross and other organisations to rescue them.

Israel has been attacking the hospital complex for four days, killing over 100 people and blowing up buildings inside the area, where around 30,000 people are said to be sheltering.

Early on Thursday, Israeli forces blew up homes nearby the hospital in further attacks, The New Arab's Arabic language sister paper Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported.

Hundreds of people, including the sick and wounded, have been forced to flee to the central area of Gaza, which is also undergoing attacks.

Blinken meets with Saudi Crown Prince to discuss Gaza
8:45 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the kingdom's Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan to discuss the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and efforts to increase aid to Palestinians.

In an interview Wednesday with the Al-Hadath network in Saudi Arabia, Blinken said "the gaps are narrowing, and I think an agreement is very much possible".

He said the mediators worked with Israel to put a "strong proposal" on the table but that Hamas rejected it. But, he said, Hamas came back with other demands that the mediators are working on.

Blinken began a tour of the Middle East on Wednesday and will visit Cairo today and expected to head to Tel Aviv to meet with Israeli government officials on Friday, in his sixth visit to the region since the start of the war.

Four confirmed dead in West Bank raid: PRCS
8:30 AM
The New Arab

Four Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces during a raid on Nur Shams camp near the city of Tulkarm in the occupied West Bank overnight on Wednesday. 

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society confirmed in a post on X on Thursday morning that it had transported the body of a fourth person, an 18-year-old man.

The raid started last night when more than 50 military vehicles and bulldozers invaded the camp and declared it a military zone, blocking the exit and entry of Palestinians from the area, Palestinian news agency Wafa reported.

Wafa also reported that Israeli surveillance and reconnaissance drones continue to hover over the camp and the adjacent city of Tulkarm.