Palestinians trapped in Nasser Hospital face bleak conditions as Israeli attacks continue

Palestinians trapped in Nasser Hospital face bleak conditions as Israeli attacks continue
"The situation in the hospital is bleak. The bombing continues, and no one can leave the hospital, whether they are doctors, patients or displaced people."
4 min read
29 January, 2024
An injured Palestinian is brought to Nasser Hospital to receive medical treatment following Israeli attacks in Khan Younis, Gaza on 22 January 2024. [Getty]

Throughout last week, the Israeli army imposed a brutal siege on Nasser Hospital, located in the city of Khan Younis, south of the Gaza Strip, opening fire on anyone who tried to escape, according to local eyewitnesses in the hospital.

The Israeli siege on Nasser Hospital comes a month and a half after the Israeli army expanded its ground and air military operations in the city of Khan Younis, which Israel claims houses a stronghold of four military battalions affiliated with the Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, the Islamist group ruling Gaza since 2006. 

According to eyewitnesses and Palestinian security sources in Gaza, the Israeli army launched violent air strikes in the vicinity of the hospital, killing dozens of displaced people sheltering inside.

With significant risk, thousands of displaced people were able to escape from the hospital under heavy Israeli bombardment, in a scene similar to when hundreds of thousands of displaced people escaped Gaza City via the Salah al-Din Road connecting the governorates of the besieged coastal enclave.

At the same time, hundreds of displaced people remain trapped inside the hospital, including doctors, medical staff, patients and their families. They all fear that Israel will repeat what it did to Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.

In separate interviews with The New Arab, some of those trapped inside the hospital described a tragic situation as the Israeli army continues its strict siege and prevents any movement.

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Palestinian health officials and paramedics reported that Israeli tanks and drones were firing at people trying to flee from the vicinity of Al-Amal and Al-Nasser Hospitals. Gaza's Ministry of Health said Israeli forces were also surrounding the Nasser Medical Complex, cutting off vital medical, food and fuel supplies.

Ashraf Al-Qedra, the spokesman of the ministry, said to TNA, "Hundreds of infected patients and pregnant women are facing serious complications."

Suhaila Abu Al-Moazza, a displaced Palestinian from the Nuseirat camp in the central Gaza Strip, told TNA that she was stuck with her family of seven inside the hospital since one of her sons was still receiving treatment, and she did not want to leave him alone to an uncertain fate.

"We fled from the bombing of Nuseirat to Khan Younis three weeks ago, but because of the Israeli bombing in Khan Younis, my son was seriously injured, which led to the amputation of his foot (...) Currently, he is still receiving treatment and cannot walk," the grieving woman said. "I decided to stay in the hospital next to him (...) Either we live together, or we die together inside the hospital." 

Israel's bombardment is continuous, not stopping for a single moment, according to Abu Al-Moazza. "Everything is targeted, and everyone is in the crosshairs of the Israeli army, which is merciless and deliberately kills without exception," she remarked. 

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Mohammed Harara, a doctor at Nasser Hospital, moves between the hospital departments to check on his patients and help them heal despite the limited resources available.

"The situation in the hospital is bleak. The bombing continues, and no one can leave the hospital, whether they are doctors, patients or displaced people. The Israeli army targets everyone here, and we live in endless tension," he said to TNA

"The Israeli army is tightening its siege on the hospital and intensifying the bombardment of its surroundings, while our medicine has begun to run out, which has negatively affected the ability of medical teams to provide medical services to patients," Harara added. 

"The hospital is closing and will be out of service. It cannot receive any patients or even provide adequate treatment to those who are inside the hospital," he described. 

"All rooms of Nasser Hospital are full, and there is no way to safely evacuate the medical team and patients, as the exit routes from the facility are blocked," he added, further saying that hospital workers were forced to bury dozens of the dead in the hospital's yard instead of leaving the corpses out in the open to decompose and rot, which could cause the spread of diseases and epidemics

Samih Al-Madhoun, one of the patients inside the hospital, fears for his life if the Israeli army launches its a direct attack on the hospital like what it did with Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.

Al-Madhoun was brought to the hospital a week ago after he was injured due to an Israeli raid that targeted his relatives' house, to which he had sheltered at three months ago.

"Currently, we are stuck inside the hospital and cannot leave it because the Israeli army targets everything that moves outside the hospital (...) And even inside the hospital, we fear death due to the continuous bombing surrounding the hospital, and we fear that it will be targeted directly," he remarked.