Israel forces besiege Gaza City's Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital

Israel forces besiege Gaza City's Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital
Palestine Red Crescent Society teams at al-Ahli Arab Baptist Hospital were hearing explosions in the area, as well as heavy gunfire, the humanitarian group said on Thursday.
2 min read
17 November, 2023
Al-Ahli Arab Baptist Hospital is a Christian hospital in Gaza City [Belal Khaled/Anadolu/Getty-archive]

Israeli forces surrounded a Gaza City hospital on Thursday, with the Palestine Red Crescent Society reporting that its ambulance crews were trapped there.

The Red Crescent's teams at Al-Ahli Arab Baptist Hospital reported explosions in the area as well as heavy gunfire, the humanitarian group said on social media platform X, amid fears of a repeat of the brutal Israeli siege on the nearby Al-Shifa hospital.

Its medics were unable to reach dead and wounded people some 30 metres away in the hospital courtyard.

In an earlier post, the Red Crescent had said a "violent attack" was underway at the facility – the only hospital with in-patient capacity in north Gaza remaining operational and admitting patients, according to the Palestinian Authority's health ministry.

Not long after this initial post, British Palestinian doctor Ghassan Abu Sitta said it was no longer possible to carry out surgeries at the Baptist hospital, without specifying a reason. He said the site was "now effectively a first aid station".

"Hundreds of wounded now at [the] hospital with no access to surgery. They will die from their wounds," he added.

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In response to the Red Crescent's first post, Rohan Talbot, advocacy and campaigns director at UK-based humanitarian group Medical Aid for Palestinians, said the Baptist hospital was "under attack by the Israeli military".

"Hospital by hospital, they are dismantling healthcare in Gaza," he added.

Doctors at the Baptist hospital told local media the siege threatens the lives of the injured given the urgent need for medicine and equipment.

In a sign of what could be to come for the facility, the Israeli army raided Gaza's biggest hospital, Al-Shifa, on Wednesday after days of siege and bombardment.

Several infants died after fuel providing power to incubators for 39 premature babies was depleted last weekend.

The director of Al-Shifa said on Tuesday that 179 people had been buried in a mass grave at the complex.

"We were forced to bury them in a mass grave," Mohammad Abu Salmiyah said.

"There are bodies littered in the hospital complex and there is no longer electricity at the morgues."

The Baptist hospital previously suffered a deadly explosion on 17 October, which was blamed on an Israeli strike. Israel disputes the charge.

Israel's indiscriminate war on Gaza has so far killed 11,500 people in the besieged Palestinian enclave.

Hamas and other militants' surprise 7 October attack inside Israeli territory killed some 1,200 people. It followed months of deadly Israeli raids in the occupied West Bank.

Agencies contributed to this report.