KHAN YOUNIS: Heavy fighting erupted on Monday around the Indonesian Hospital in northern Gaza, where thousands of patients and displaced people have sought shelter for weeks. Israeli forces have intensified their brutalities against Palestinians and ordered evacuation of Gaza hospitals. The escalation followed the evacuation of 31 premature babies from Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.
The World Health Organization (WHO) evacuated the babies from Al-Shifa Hospital, where they were among more than 250 critically ill or wounded patients stranded for days after Israeli forces entered the compound. The situation has brought attention to the challenges faced by Gaza’s hospitals, becoming a focal point in the ongoing narrative surrounding the toll on Palestinian civilians during the six-week war.
Critics argue that Israel’s siege and relentless aerial bombardment in Gaza amount to collective punishment for the besieged enclave’s 2.3 million innocent Palestinians. The Indonesian Hospital, currently under threat, has witnessed Israeli tanks in close proximity, causing fear and distress among women and children seeking refuge.
Marwan Abdallah, a medical worker at the Indonesian Hospital, reported visible Israeli tanks and ongoing firing. “Women and children are terrified. There are constant sounds of explosions and gunfire,” Abdallah stated. The hospital received dozens of casualties from overnight Israeli airstrikes and shelling, raising concerns that Israel might besiege the hospital, forcing its evacuation.
Over 13,000 Palestinians Killed in Gaza
The Israeli military, typically reserved about troop movements, had no immediate comment on the situation. The ongoing conflict has resulted in over 13,000 Palestinians killed in Gaza, according to Palestinian health authorities, with more than 2,700 reported missing.
Amid the chaos, the plight of Gaza’s hospitals worsened as Al-Shifa Hospital ran out of water, medical supplies, and fuel for emergency generators during a territory-wide blackout.
The conflict has resulted in approximately three-quarters of Gaza’s population, or 1.7 million people, being displaced, with 900,000 seeking refuge in crowded UN-run shelters. The dire situation has been exacerbated by cold winds and driving rain, further intensifying the misery of those affected.
As talks for a hostage release continue between Israel, the United States, and Qatar, which mediates with Hamas, the war cabinet is set to meet representatives of the hostages’ families on Monday evening.