One of the few remaining hospitals in the northern Gaza Strip ceased operations on Tuesday following an incursion by the Israeli army, as confirmed by the hospital’s director, Fadel Naim. According to Naim, Al-Ahli Hospital was subjected to an attack by Israeli troops who not only detained doctors, medical staff, and patients but also inflicted damage to the hospital’s infrastructure.
Naim stated that the Israeli assault has rendered the hospital non-functional, emphasizing, “We can’t receive any patients or injured individuals.” Tragically, at least four people who had sustained injuries from Israeli gunfire on Monday succumbed to their injuries on Tuesday, a direct result of the assault on Al-Ahli.
The hospital, also known as the Baptist or Ahli Arab Hospital, had already suffered significant damage from an explosion in its car park on October 17, leading to numerous casualties. While militant groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad point fingers at Israel for the initial blast, the Israeli government denies responsibility, attributing the incident to a misfired rocket by Islamic Jihad.
International humanitarian law designates hospitals as protected entities, yet they have repeatedly become targets in Israeli strikes within the Gaza Strip since the onset of the conflict with Hamas on October 7. Notably, Al-Shifa, the largest hospital in the territory, now operates at minimal capacity with a limited team after previous Israeli raids.
The World Health Organization highlighted the critical condition of Al-Shifa’s emergency department, describing it as a “blood bath” and urgently in need of resuscitation. Additionally, on Sunday, it was reported that Al-Ahli Hospital was receiving “critical patients” from Al-Shifa for surgery.
The dire situation extends to another hospital in northern Gaza, Al Awda in the Jabalia area, which, according to Ashraf Al-Qudra, the health ministry spokesman in the Hamas-run territory, has been turned into a barracks by the Israeli army. Al-Qudra stated that the army has detained 240 individuals in the hospital, including 80 medical staff and 40 patients, and arrested the hospital’s director, Dr. Ahmad Mhanna.
International pressure is mounting on Israel as reports of civilian casualties and the destruction of hospitals in Gaza continue to escalate. The conflict, initiated by a Hamas incursion that resulted in 1,139 deaths in Israel, has seen a retaliatory assault by Israel, claiming the lives of at least 19,667 people in the Palestinian territory, predominantly women and children, according to the health ministry in Gaza.