Gaza: Bodies pile up by the dozen outside Al-Shifa hospital after power outage
Bodies are piling up outside Gaza’s biggest hospital where patients are dying because of a lack of fuel needed to keep healthcare facilities running as Israel tightens its grip on the Palestinian enclave.
Al-Shifa hospital director Muhammad Abu Salmiya told Anadolu Agency early on Monday that 20 patients have died since Israeli forces surrounded the facility three days ago. By Monday afternoon, that number had risen to more than 30, according to Gaza health ministry figures.
Six premature babies died on Monday, according to Abu Salmiya, who said that Israel "stopped fuel from reaching the hospital."
He outright denied reports that the hospital refused 300 litres of diesel offered by the Israeli army, and claimed that such quantities could barely run power generators for 15 minutes.
He previously said that Al-Shifa requires between 8,000 and 12,000 litres a day to operate efficiently.
"The number of premature babies still alive in the hospital is 33, after the death of six," he told Anadolu.
He said seven patients in the intensive care unit and other sections of the hospitals died on Sunday due to a lack of medical supplies and power cuts.
Israeli forces launched a series of consecutive attacks on hospitals across northern Gaza Strip overnight. l-Awda Hospital, Al-Rantisi Hospital, Al-Shifa Hospital, Indonesia Hospital, Nasser Hospital and surrounds all endured a night of indiscriminate bombardment 👇 pic.twitter.com/LVEk2lveP5— The New Arab (@The_NewArab) November 10, 2023
Abu Salmiya announced on Sunday that Al-Shifa "has been completely cut off" after the last generator ran out of fuel a day earlier.
Up to 15,000 people - patients in need of treatment and those who have sought shelter in the hospital grounds - are now trapped as Israel lays siege to the medical complex.
Bodies had been piling up in front of the hospital before the Israeli military began besieging the hospital.
An independent journalist covering events at Al-Shifa hospital told The New Arab that a total of 100 bodies were outside the hospital before the siege began. The same figure had been shared by Gaza's health ministry early on Monday.
The journalist said that these patients began dying prior to Saturday when the power generators turned off. He added that more patients continued to perish because of fuel and medical supply shortages.
When asked whether any humanitarian organisations were able to provide the hospital with fuel, he said Israel was refusing to cooperate and that people trying to leave the hospital were being targeted.
The Red Cross attempted to transport patients out of the hospital but failed, he said.
The journalist told TNA that a family of between 30 to 40 people leaving via Al-Wehda Street were struck by either a shell or reconnaissance missile. Most of them died, he said.
Another incident on Saturday saw a 23-year-old woman die and her brother sustain injuries after they tried to exit the hospital. The mother and father survived the Israeli strike, according to the journalist.
Israel has frequently made claims without evidence that Hamas was using the hospitals as a base for its military operations. There have been calls in Israel, including from Israeli doctors, for Al-Shifa to be bombed.
The tragedy at the hospital is unfolding as Israeli jets continued pounding the territory, 38 days since the start of the war on 7 October, when Hamas carried out a surprise and large-scale incursion into southern Israel.
More than 11,000 have been killed so far in Israel’s unprecedented bombardment of the Gaza Strip, most of them civilians.
Nearly the whole northern part of the besieged Palestinian enclave has reportedly been encircled by Israeli forces as their ground troops advance deeper into Gaza City.
More than half of Gaza’s 2.3 million population has been displaced, and many continue to move to the southern part of the 365 sq km enclave - which Israel has also been shelling.