Israel’s military has strengthened its hold on al-Shifa, the largest hospital in Gaza, holding thousands of injured and displaced people inside as tensions between Israel and Hamas increase.
The heavy artillery barrage that began early on Saturday has not only completely surrounded the hospital but also made it difficult for ambulances to go in or out of the building.
Concerns are being raised regarding the safety and well-being of individuals who are confined within the medical complex due to alarming reports of a dire situation with running out of food and medical supplies.
Israeli forces’ complete encirclement of al-Shifa Hospital has turned the area into a battlefield, limiting movement and posing a severe threat to the trapped individuals.
Reports suggest that Israeli snipers and artillery are targeting anyone attempting to move outside the hospital, adding to the urgency of the situation.
he recent strike on al-Shifa Hospital has escalated tensions, leading to casualties and further deterioration of the already strained healthcare facilities in Gaza.
Al-Shifa director, Muhammad Abu Salmiya described the area around the hospital as a “battlefield”, but said the hospital’s staff have pledged to stay with patients until the “last moment”.
“We will not leave, because we know if we leave the hospital, dozens of patients will die,” Abu Salmiya told Al Jazeera.
The conflict’s impact on Gaza’s healthcare infrastructure is evident, with half of the hospitals non-operational and two-thirds of primary care facilities out of commission.
World Health Organization (WHO) chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus echoed his concerns on the closure of hospitals, saying he was “extremely disturbed” by the situation at the al-Shifa Hospital.
“Many of the thousands sheltering at the hospital are forced to evacuate due to security risks, while many still remain there.
“WHO is very concerned about the safety of patients, health workers and those sheltering in hospitals. They need immediate protection.”