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Gaza’s Largest Hospitals Close, Premature Babies Taken Out of Incubators, as Health System Collapses

HeadlineNov 13, 2023

Gaza’s two largest hospitals, Al-Shifa and Al-Quds, have closed as Gaza’s health system collapses under relentless Israeli bombardment and blockades. At least six premature babies and nine other patients have died at Al-Shifa due to shortages of electricity. Photos show premature babies removed from their incubators and placed together on a bed for warmth as the last remaining hospital workers are forced to resort to desperate measures. Medical staff say Israeli forces have entered hospitals and fired at patients and forced hundreds of others onto the streets. Doctors and officials with the Palestinian Ministry of Health pleaded with international actors to allow for the safe evacuation and treatment of patients. This is Dr. Muhammad Qandil of Nasser hospital.

Dr. Muhammad Qandil: “Hospitals are under fire. The last example is Shifa Hospital ICU. There is another private obstetric hospital was targeted directly today, and two of our colleagues who are specialists in obstetrics and gynecology were killed tonight. There is no service for pediatric patients in the northern area. Five kids in the pediatric ICU left alone in Rantisi Hospital, and we don’t know what’s going on with them. The communications were lost, so they might be dead or alive. So, now in Shifa Hospital, they cannot deal with the dead bodies. There is a tent of dead bodies back in the hospital.”

Nearly 200 medical workers have been reported killed since October 7. Among the dead is Al-Shifa’s Dr. Hammam Alloh, whose family home was shelled by Israel. We spoke to Dr. Alloh less than two weeks ago. Later in the broadcast, we’ll air that interview.

In Geneva, U.N. staff observed a minute of silence today in memory of the 101 employees of the U.N.'s Palestinian refugee agency, known as UNRWA, who've been killed in Israel’s assault on Gaza. Palestinian health officials say it’s impossible to determine an updated death toll due to communications outages, but said on Sunday at least 11,100 people have been killed since the start of the conflict, including more than 8,000 children and women. On Friday, Israel’s Foreign Ministry lowered its official death toll from Hamas’s October 7 attack in Israel to 1,200 people, down from 1,400.

Mass displacement continues as Gazans continue to flee southward despite Israeli attacks also targeting southern cities like Khan Younis, where another 13 people were killed in an Israeli airstrike Sunday. This is a displaced Gazan.

Ahmed Al-Kahlout: “Nowhere is safe in Gaza. My son was injured, and there was not a single hospital I could take him to so he could get stitches. There is no water. There isn’t enough salt water we can wash our hands with. There is no water for ablution. There are bodies filling Gaza’s streets. And there are still people there hoping that it will be solved soon. But only God knows if it will be solved, if they will live or if they will die. We were forced to leave. It wasn’t up to us. The whole world has let us down. The progressive world, that boasts about human rights, has let us down.”

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