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“Like Horror Movies”: Forced to Evacuate Nasser Hospital, Surgeon Describes Israeli Raid & Arrests

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Image Credit: Palestine Red Crescent Society

As the death toll in Gaza tops 29,000, we get an update on one of the largest hospitals in southern Gaza, Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis, which is no longer functional amid a dayslong raid on the facility by Israeli forces. About 200 patients remain trapped there, with Israel preventing the WHO and the U.N. from delivering aid or evacuating the patients. The Gaza Health Ministry says at least eight people died in the hospital after Israel cut off electricity and oxygen supplies, and that soldiers also arrested many hospital staff. Dr. Ahmed Moghrabi, a surgeon who worked at Nasser, sent Democracy Now! a video on Sunday describing what happened when it was stormed by Israeli troops. “They arrested all the medical team who remained at Nasser Hospital. We don’t know the fate of my colleagues,” said Moghrabi, who had to walk for miles with his family in the night. “Nothing remains in Khan Younis. Nothing. It’s like horror movies. No streets, no buildings are there. Only dead bodies.”

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!,, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman.

Israel’s unrelenting assault on the Gaza Strip has killed over 29,000 Palestinians and injured another 69,000 since October 7th. We begin today’s show in the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis, where the Gaza Health Ministry is reporting one of Gaza’s largest hospitals, Al-Nasser Hospital, is no longer functional amidst a dayslong Israeli raid on the facility over the weekend. At least eight people at the hospital have reportedly died since Israeli soldiers cut off electricity and oxygen supplies.

The head of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, posted on X Sunday, quote, “Nasser hospital in #Gaza is not functional anymore, after a weeklong siege followed by the ongoing raid. Both yesterday and the day before, the @WHO team was not permitted to enter the hospital to assess the conditions of the patients and critical medical needs, despite reaching the hospital compound to deliver fuel alongside partners. There are still about 200 patients in the hospital. At least 20 need to be urgently referred to other hospitals to receive health care. Medical referral is every patient’s right. The cost of delays will be paid by patients’ lives. Access to the patients and hospital should be facilitated,” end-quote. The World Health Organization says it’s still trying to evacuate the remaining patients in the hospital in Khan Younis to other facilities.

On Friday, the Gaza Health Ministry said an aid convoy led by the United Nations was detained for seven hours and prevented from reaching the hospital. The ministry said Saturday Israeli forces, quote, “arrested a large number of the directors and staff” of the hospital while they were tending to the wounded. Up to 100 people were reportedly arrested.

On Sunday, Dr. Ahmed Moghrabi at Nasser Hospital sent Democracy Now! a video describing what happened when the hospital was stormed by Israeli troops.

DR. AHMED MOGHRABI: At 1:30, I was at the third floor with my family at the surgical building. We heard lots of quadcopters over our heads at the hospital. They were asking us by megaphone actually to evacuate the hospital immediately. Immediately. And after like five, 10 minutes, I heard a very big explosion. Actually, they bombed and shelling the third floor, where I’m staying. Exactly, they targeted the orthopedic department. And I took my phone. I recorded some couple of videos, and I posted on my Instagram how did people as a result of this explosion. It was like chaos, everybody running there and there.

So, I realized that it is invasion of IDF as I started hearing some dogs at the hospital yards. And actually, yeah, they destroyed the back wall of the hospital and released their dogs. I changed my scrub immediately, and I took this, my clothes. Actually, I brought this, my clothes. And I ran away from the hospital with my family, with many of patients, many of people, some of my medical staff there. And can you guess? It was like 2 a.m., early morning. It was cold.

And there was a checkpoint away from the main gate of the hospital, about like 50 meters only. There was tanks, soldiers, dogs. And they started checking everybody there. Everybody. So, it’s not allowed to cross the checkpoint without checking you. So, when my turn comes, I — actually, they asked me to go forward or to come to the checkpoint, me and other four people. Actually, I told my wife, my children that I might be arrested, so don’t worry. Maybe it will take two weeks, one month. So, I’ll be fine, blah, blah, blah. And they asked us — they asked us to look at the camera, big camera, in front for 30 minutes. It’s not one camera; it’s lots of cameras are there. You have to look forward for 30 minutes, half-minute. During this time, actually, they told us actually to move and leave my nurse. My nurse was standing next to me or beside me. And they took my nurse. They asked him to take off all his clothes — all his clothes — at this cold. And they took him inside. And they ordered me and others actually to go and to keep moving, just keep moving.

And I walked with my family about 10 kilometers that night. Ten kilometers, nothing remain in Khan Younis. Nothing. It’s like horror movies. No streets, no buildings are there. Only dead bodies all over around. Only dead bodies.

By the way, I was hearing my friend Rami was screaming. They were beating him, not only him, many, many, many. They took many.

I managed to get to Rafah early morning, and I spent that day on the street. On the street. Who remained of medical staff, actually, all of them are arrested. They arrested all the medical team who remained at Nasser Hospital. We don’t know the fate of my colleagues. Actually, from my department, from my department, they took one GP doctor, my assistant, Dr. Mahmoud. They took two nurses from my department, Rami and Mohammed. They took, I think, around 100. Around a hundred of medical staff already have been arrested by IDF.

Now I’m at Rafah. I came here actually to IJH hospital — EJH hospital in Rafah to say hello to my friends, actually. And this is the situation here. I built a tent, by the way, for my family. I went to the MSF shelter with my wife and my children. I’ll keep you updated. Thank you.

AMY GOODMAN: That was Dr. Ahmed Moghrabi, speaking Sunday from Rafah. He was forced to leave Al-Nasser Hospital with the Israeli raid. He was the head of plastic surgery there.

Last week, Democracy Now! was able to receive updates from one of the last remaining surgeons inside Al-Nasser Hospital, Dr. Khaled Alserr. This is the last video Dr. Alserr posted on his Instagram page from Friday evening.

DR. KHALED ALSERR: This ICU patient have just died because they cut all electricity at Nasser Medical Hospital. And aother six patients is awaiting the same fate.

AMY GOODMAN: We are looking at a dead patient. During the dayslong Israeli raid on Al-Nasser Hospital this weekend, people were unable to reach Dr. Khaled Alserr, raising concerns he had possibly been abducted. This morning Democracy Now! was able to reach Dr. Khaled Alserr’s cousin, Dr. Osaid Alser. He’s a Palestinian refugee from Gaza and a surgeon resident in training in Lubbock, Texas. We asked him if he’s heard anything from his cousin at Al-Nasser. This is what he shared with us.

DR. OSAID ALSER: Hi. This is Dr. Alser. This is just an update about Dr. Khaled Alserr, who’s my cousin. So, yesterday he texted in our group chat, where we have a telemedicine group to discuss trauma cases. And he reported that he is relatively OK, and he was not abducted, which is amazing. But it sounds like some of his colleagues were abducted, and some of the patients, as well. But he is still in Nasser Hospital taking care of the remaining patients in the orthopedic and burn units.

AMY GOODMAN: That is Dr. Osaid Alser, cousin of Dr. Khaled Alserr, still in Gaza.

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Next story from this daily show

“3 Days of Hell”: Israel Raids Nasser Hospital, Arrests Staff in Latest Assault on Gaza Medical System

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