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Israel Lays Siege to Gaza’s Hospitals, Strikes Jabaliya Refugee Camp Amid Telecoms Blackout

HeadlineNov 17, 2023

Israel’s unceasing bombardment of the Gaza Strip has entered its seventh week, with fresh attacks on residential buildings in the Jabaliya refugee camp that killed at least 18 people. On Thursday, Gaza’s main telecommunications companies went out of service due to a lack of fuel for generators, plunging most of the besieged territory into another communications blackout. Israeli troops occupied the Al-Shifa Hospital for a third straight day, where some 7,000 trapped medical workers and patients face a worsening humanitarian crisis. A doctor at Al-Shifa said 43 out of 63 intensive care patients who were on ventilators have now died after supplies of oxygen and fuel ran out; a “large number” of premature babies have also died due to Israel’s siege on the hospital.

On Thursday, Israeli and Egyptian authorities allowed a handful of wounded Palestinians through the Rafah border crossing for treatment in Egypt. This is Ahmed Mazen Abu Shahma, a Palestinian boy whose leg was amputated after he survived an Israeli missile strike on his family’s home.

Ahmed Mazen Abu Shahma: “People are torn into pieces, a head on one side and a leg on the other side. Entire buildings in one block are demolished by bombings. The Israeli pilot of the plane, doesn’t he know that there are people in these buildings? They want Hamas. What do the people have to do with this? Innocent children, what do they have to do with this to be bombarded? Doesn’t the pilot know that they are children?”

Also on Thursday, the Indonesian Hospital in northern Gaza reported it had been forced to halt services, leaving dozens of patients who urgently need surgery untreated in a reception area. This comes after Israel bombed the Jordanian field hospital in Gaza, an attack Jordan’s government condemned as a war crime. The U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, says it may soon be forced to suspend all humanitarian operations in Gaza due to a lack of fuel. UNRWA’s chief said Thursday, “I do believe there is a deliberate attempt to strangle our operation.”

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