'A death sentence': Gaza's Al-Shifa Hospital runs out of fuel, suspends operations

'A death sentence': Gaza's Al-Shifa Hospital runs out of fuel, suspends operations
Hospitals in Gaza face humanitarian crisis amid Israeli attacks and fuel shortages.
4 min read
11 November, 2023
All the departments in the hospital have shut down due to running out of fuel and ongoing "deliberate targeting" by Israeli strikes [Getty]

The Al-Shifa Hospital - Gaza's largest hospital - has run out of fuel and suspended its services, the Palestinian health ministry said on Saturday, leaving hundreds of patients stranded.

All the departments in the hospital have shut down due to running out of fuel and ongoing "deliberate targeting" by Israeli strikes, Dr. Ashraf Al Qedra, spokesman for the Palestinian Ministry of Health, told The New Arab.

"All the medical staff and patients live in danger, and a large number of them will be killed or would die as a result of the unprecedented dire situation inside the complex," Al Qedra said.

Earlier in the day, Palestinian security sources said that the Israeli army laid siege to the Al Shifa hospital and attacked parts of the complex with artillery shells as well as fighter jets. 



"Dozens of people were killed by the Israeli attacks," Al Qedra said.

It came after the Palestinian Red Cresent Society was involved in negotiations to allow fuel to enter the hospital and stop it from shutting down. However, those attempts failed as the Israeli army refused to let fuel in, according to Al Qedra.

The Israeli army claimed that some Hamas leaders were hiding in tunnels under the hospital of Shifa. But al-Qedra denied that and called on the international organizations to come to Gaza and examine the Israeli claims. 

Israel alleged that "Hamas command centres" were set up under the hospital

"All the Israeli claims are not true," Mohammed Abu Silmeia, the director of Al Shifa Hospital told TNA.

"The Israelis have committed crimes against humanity in Gaza and they want to continue their violations against all the Palestinians in Gaza," he said.

"Israel's airstrikes have caused major damage in the healthcare system in Gaza," he added.

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Two shells fell in Al Shifa's Hospital courtyard, causing damage to the main door and the facades of buildings inside the hospital, Abu Silmeia said.

A fire broke out in one of the sub-departments, adjacent to the nephrology department, and it was still raging, Abu Silmeia added.

In addition, significant damage occurred in the surgery building due to shrapnel, Abu Silmeia said, adding that "movement between buildings inside al-Shifa is impossible as a result of the density of the wounded, ongoing shelling, and fires".

Israeli forces bombed the main oxygen line, effectively "sentencing everyone in the complex to premeditated murder", he said.

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"We cannot do anything for the wounded because of the lack of electricity and oxygen, and what made matters worse was that Israeli drones bombed everyone who moved to the hospital's courtyard."

Since Israel began its onslaught on the already-impoverished besieged Gaza Strip, over 11,000 Palestinians have been killed - mostly children, women and the elderly.

Israeli strikes also killed 198 health workers, destroyed 53 ambulances and targeted 135 health facilities, leading to the closure of 21 hospitals and 47 primary care centres.

Earlier on Saturday, the Indonesian hospital also went out of service as a result of Israeli attacks and the fuel shortage.

This came a day after the Al Nasir hospital in Gaza stopped operating after the Israeli army forced the medical staff to evacuate it and seized it. 

"We lived under the Israeli attacks for more than a week. We felt we would die at any moment, mainly as the army deliberately attacked the hospital and destroyed parts of it," Mohammed, a doctor at Al Nasir Hospital who did not give his full name, told TNA on Thursday.

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"We were shocked that the Israeli army circled the hospitals and deported artillery vehicles and ordered us to raise white flags and evacuate the hospital immediately," he said.

"The medical staff initially refused all Israeli demands, but later the army held their weapons toward our heads and threatened us if we did not leave the hospital they would kill us…. We left several children who needed treatment and evacuated the hospital," he said.

‏The International Committee of the Red Cross issued an appeal for the protection of patients and healthcare workers in Gaza, emphasising that the lives of thousands of civilians, patients, and healthcare workers were at risk.

‏Mai al-Kaila, the Palestinian Authority Health Minister said that the current aggression against hospitals in Gaza amounts to a death sentence for the patients inside.