- Recent Developments:
- A Palestinian official said the largest hospital had suspended operations
- Baby dies in incubator, intensive care patient killed by shell, official says from inside hospital
- Israel reiterates that the hospital should be evacuated
- Some health workers fled the hospital – WHO chief
GAZA, Nov 11 (Reuters) – A baby in an incubator at Gaza’s largest hospital died after losing electricity, and another was killed in intensive care by Israeli shelling, a Palestinian health ministry spokesman said on Saturday.
Israel’s military, which residents said fought overnight with Hamas gunmen in and around Gaza City, where the hospital is located, did not immediately respond to comments from Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Khitra.
“We are under siege inside the Al Shifa medical complex, and the occupation has targeted most of the buildings inside,” said Gidra, who represents the health ministry in Hamas-controlled Gaza.
The Israeli military says Hamas militants who attacked southern Israel last month risked targeting command centers under Shifa Hospital and others in Gaza as military targets.
“Hospitals must be evacuated to deal with Hamas. We intend to deal with Hamas, which has turned hospitals into palaces,” it said at one point when asked if it planned to enter Gaza hospitals.
Hamas has denied using civilians as human shields and increasing Israeli strikes on or near hospitals put patients, medical staff and thousands of evacuees sheltering near their buildings at risk, health officials say.
Kitra said Israeli army snipers on the rooftops of buildings near the hospital periodically fired into the medical compound, restricting the ability of doctors and people to move.
The Israeli military did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The hospital’s operations were halted as it ran out of fuel, Gitra said: “As a result, one newborn died inside the incubator, where there are 45 babies.”
Hamas denies using the hospital for its military purposes and has asked the United Nations and the Red Cross to send delegations to Shifa to investigate the Israeli allegations.
The Palestinian Ministry of Health, based in the Israeli-occupied West Bank – separated from Gaza by Israel and run by a rival administration to Hamas – said separately that 39 children were at risk at the hospital.
Minister Mai Alkaila had initially said they had died without access to oxygen or medicine and power had been cut, but the ministry later corrected the information to say one person had died and 39 others were at risk.
“39 premature babies at Al-Shifa Medical Complex are at risk of death at any time, one of them died this morning. Failure to bring fuel to the hospitals will result in the death penalty for the rest. Only the incubators can work. Until this evening, after which the fuel will run out.”
Contacted again about the ministry’s statement, Kitra reiterated that the hospital had no electricity and no internet.
“We are working hard to keep them alive, but we fear we may lose them in the coming hours,” he said. The hospital is completely without electricity.
On Friday, Gaza officials said missiles landed in Al Shifa’s courtyard, killing one person and wounding others. Israel’s military later said a stray projectile fired by Palestinian militants in Gaza hit Shifa.
WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said people who had been in contact with a group of health workers in Shifa were forced to leave the hospital to seek safety.
“Many of the thousands staying in hospitals have been forced to leave due to security risks, and many are still there,” Tedros wrote on social media on Friday.
Nidal al-Mughrabi’s report on Gaza; Additional reporting by Ari Rabinovich and others Reuters bureau; Written by Matt Spetalnick and Philippa Fletcher; Editing by Grant McCool, Simon Cameron-Moore, William McLean
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