Ground warfare is continuing close to hospitals in the northern Gaza Strip, with the World Health Organization saying the Al-Shifa site “is not functioning as a hospital anymore”. It is not clear whether this means that the hospital has been evacuated, or whether it is being used as a shelter, but not at as a hospital, or whether it is being used as a base for Hamas fighters.
Doctors there say they fear the remaining 36 newborn babies needing intensive care treatment may die.
Doctors in Gaza have told the BBC that dead bodies are piling up and beginning to rot inside and around Al-Shifa hospital.
Dr. Marwan Al-Barsh who is the director-general of the Hamas-run Ministry of Health in Gaza said there were, “more than a hundred corpses” piled up in the courtyard, with the situation exacerbated by a lack of fuel to power the mortuaries.
“The electricity was cut off by the Israeli occupation forces that targeted the generators, which led to the decomposition and rotting of the corpses as we see worms coming out of them”, Al-Barsh said on BBC Arabic’s Gaza Lifeline programme.
Al-Bursh said they were struggling to bury their dead because of threats from the IDF.
“We tried to co-ordinate with the occupation forces so that we would be allowed to bury the dead bodies inside the hospital, yet anyone who attempts to get out of the hospital is directly shot.”
Israel asserts that there is a Hamas command centre underneath Al-Shifa – IDF spokeswoman Libby Weiss said: “We know that with certainty.” Hamas and hospital authorities deny.
One doctor said he had been working at the hospital for 16 years, and that he certainly would not be working there if the hospital was used as a Hamas base.
The UN agency for Palestinian refugees has warned its humanitarian operations in Gaza will “grind to a halt” in 48 hours when it runs out of fuel.
UNRWA said Israel has refused to allow fuel supplies into the Gaza Strip, but Israel says it offered 300 litres to maintain services at the Al-Shifa hospital.
In the past couple of hours, Tom White, the Director of UNRWA Affairs for Gaza, said on X: “The humanitarian operation in Gaza will grind to a halt in the next 48 hours as no fuel is allowed to enter Gaza.”
He said this morning two of the agency’s main water distribution contractors ceased working, which he said would deny drinkable water to 200,000 people.
The contractors “simply ran out of fuel”, he said.
Israel began striking Gaza after the Hamas attacks on 7th October, which saw 1,200 people, mostly civilians, killed inside Israel, and more than 200 taken hostage.
The Hamas-run health ministry says more than 11,000 people have been killed in Gaza since – of whom more than 4,500 were children.
It is not clear how many of this number were Hamas fighters, or if any of the dead were double classified, for example 16 and 17 year-old youths might be classified both as children and as Hamas fighters if the age of 18 was used to define children.