Exodus of patients, staff at Gaza’s biggest hospital
Patients, staff and displaced people departed Gaza’s largest hospital on Saturday, health officials said, leaving behind only Israeli forces and a skeleton crew to care for those too sick to move. The exodus came the day internet and phone service was restored to the Gaza Strip, ending a telecommunications outage that forced the United Nations to shut down critical aid deliveries.
The Israeli military on Saturday denied that it ordered an evacuation of the Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza after Palestinian media reports said the army had asked everyone to leave the medical complex within an hour’s time.
In a post in Hebrew on X, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said it had “responded to the request of the director of Shifa Hospital to allow Gazan citizens who were sheltering in the hospital and who wish to evacuate towards the humanitarian crossing in the Gaza Strip via a secure axis”.
The military stressed that “at no point did the IDF ask to evacuate patients or medical teams”. The IDF “even suggested that whenever there is a request to coordinate a medical evacuation, we will work to allow it and transfer the patients to other hospitals”, the post read.
The army went on to say that medical teams will remain in the hospital, adding that the IDF continued to provide food, water and humanitarian aid to the medical complex overnight. IDF special forces backed by additional troops conducted an 18 hour-long operation on Wednesday against Hamas terror infrastructure at Al-Shifa.
5 premature babies die in Al-Shifa
Another premature baby has died at the hospital due to lack of proper incubation support, taking the total number of such deaths to five, the Palestinian Ministry of Health said. Hospital authorities said the lack of fuel has led to the power failure of the incubation support. A total of 30 premature babies remain in the enclave’s largest medical facility. Authorities are trying coordinate with the Red Cross to take the children out of the hospital.
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