Major Gaza hospital nearing 'closure' as Israel inches closer in Khan Younis

Major Gaza hospital nearing 'closure' as Israel inches closer in Khan Younis
The Nasser Medical Complex could soon cease to function as Israeli forces launch an assault on Khan Younis.
1 min read
19 January, 2024
Hundreds of injured Palestinians and displaced people are currently seeking refuge at the Nasser Medical Complex in Khan Younis [Getty/file photo]

One of Gaza's last functioning hospitals could be forced to close amid Israeli bombardments and evacuation orders, sparking fears of a major healthcare crisis in the besieged enclave.

The Nasser Medical Complex in Khan Younis, which receives hundreds of wounded Palestinians a day, will "soon cease functioning" The New Arab’s correspondent in Gaza has confirmed.

Israeli troops are closing in on the hospital as part of a major assault on Gaza, where close to 25,000 people have been killed since 7 October.

Witnesses said they heard the sound of explosions in the west of Khan Younis, where the hospital is located, on Friday.

Medical staff have told The Guardian that Israeli shelling hit positions just metres away from the hospital.

Journalists and displaced people have already been evacuated from the facility, The New Arab can confirm, and Al-Nasser will no longer be able to treat patients if the Israeli assault persists.

Evacuation orders have been imposed on the Jordanian Field Hospital by Israel, while hospitals such as Al-Shifa have been closed or are barely functioning.

Israel is now targeting Khan Younis and Rafah, areas that are part of a so-called "safe zone" where hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from north Gaza have fled to.

The southern part of the Gaza Strip - particularly Rafah, home to over 1 million displaced Palestinians - host civilians ordered out of their homes by Israel earlier in the Gaza war.

Due to overcrowding and a lack of medicine, food, shelter, and water, the risk of disease and famine has increased exponentially.

Only 15 out of 36 hospitals remain functioning in the territory, the NGO Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) confirmed on Friday, with MSF Gaza Medical Referent describing the medical situation there as "catastrophic".

Leo Cans, the MSF head of mission for Palestine, said that fighting had come "very close" to Al-Nasser and an airstrike on Monday 150 metres from the hospital had killed eight people and injured 80.

Other hospitals in Gazan are also at risk of Israeli shelling, including the Al-Amal Hospital, where 77 people were killed overnight, according to the health ministry.

Israel claims that the Palestinian Hamas group uses hospitals as hideouts and command centres, in a bid to justify its attacks on medical facilities.

Al-Nasser hospital staff strongly deny Israel's allegations.

Similar claims by Israel about Al-Shifa hospital were later proven false.