Skip to main content

Israel gives hospitals in Gaza ‘hours’ to evacuate

Israel gives hospitals in Gaza ‘hours’ to evacuate
2 min read
14 October, 2023
Doctors and medical charities have condemned an Israeli order to evacuate patients – including seriously injured people – from hospitals in the Gaza Strip
Israel has demanded that patients be evacuated from hospitals within a few hours [Getty]

The Israeli army on Saturday ordered hospitals in Gaza to evacuate medical staff and patients, including seriously injured people within a few hours, Palestinian medical sources said.

Ashraf al-Qedra, the spokesperson of the Gaza health ministry said that the “Israeli occupation asked the administrations of two hospitals, al-Awda and al-Quds in the north and centre of Gaza, to evacuate staff, sick people, and displaced people”.

“Israel is insisting on killing more Palestinians and displacing most of them, in violation of humanitarian and international laws,” he said.

Gaza’s Health Ministry added that it was impossible to safely transport the wounded from hospitals, which are already struggling with high numbers of dead and injured.

The charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors without Borders – MSF) condemned the Israeli ultimatum.

“We unequivocally condemn this action, the continued indiscriminate bloodshed and attacks on health care in Gaza. We are trying to protect our staff and patients,” MSF says. “The evacuation of patients remains complicated.”

The Israeli ultimatum to evacuate the hospitals came a day after they ordered people in the north or the Gaza Strip to leave their homes and head to the southern part of the Gaza Strip.

1.1 million people live in the area which Israel has said must be evacuated, and the announcement has stoked fears of ethnic cleansing and a “Second Nakba”.

Live Story

Israel has been indiscriminately bombing the Gaza Strip since last Saturday, flattening entire districts and killing an estimated 2,215 people.

The unprecedented Israeli attack is in response to a surprise Hamas assault last Saturday which killed hundreds of Israelis. Hamas is believed to be holding 150 Israelis hostage.

Hamas condemned the Israeli request to evacuate the hospitals, saying that “it is a new Israeli crime that reflects hidden intentions to prevent basic and emergency health services.”

It called on the United Nations and relevant international institutions to intervene urgently to stop “Israel’s criminal plans to target hospitals, medical staff, and other institutions working in the humanitarian field.”