GAZA STRIP, Palestinian Territories: The health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza said Monday the death toll at Al-Shifa hospital rose to 34 since the weekend as the facility suffered fuel shortages.
The latest toll included 27 adult intensive care patients and seven babies, deputy health minister in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, Youssef Abu Rish said.
The hospitals in the center of the heaviest north Gaza fighting have been forced out of service amid shortages and combat, the Hamas-run health ministry said Monday, adding the number of patients dying in the biggest medical center had risen.
Israel argues that its Hamas enemies have built their military headquarters in tunnels beneath the Al-Shifa hospital complex, while UN agencies and doctors inside the facility warned the effects of the raging battles were claiming the lives of civilians including infants.
As witnesses reported more “violent fighting,” overnight aerial bombardments and the clatter of gunfire echoed across the sprawling Al-Shifa hospital at the heart of the Gaza City, now an urban war zone.
The Hamas government’s deputy health minister Youssef Abu Rish told AFP all hospitals in the north of the embattled territory were “out of service.”
The World Health Organization in the Palestinian Territories warned that up to 3,000 patients and staff are sheltering inside without adequate fuel, water or food, after the UN’s humanitarian agency said previously that 20 of Gaza’s 36 hospitals have been disabled.
“Regrettably, the hospital is not functioning as a hospital anymore,” said WHO director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, after contacting on-the-ground staff inside the Al-Shifa complex.
“It’s been three days without electricity, without water,” he said, describing the plight of those trapped inside as “dire and perilous.”
The Israeli army pushed on with their campaign, determined to destroy the Islamist movement whose gunmen it says killed at least 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and took about 240 hostages in the country’s worst ever attack.
But Israel is facing intense international pressure to minimize civilian suffering amid its massive air and ground operation, which that Hamas authorities say have killed 11,180 people, including 4,609 children.
Israel said 44 of its troops have been killed in the Gaza offensive.
Flags flew at half-mast at United Nations compounds across Asia on Monday, as staff observed a minute’s silence in memory of colleagues killed in Gaza during the Israel-Hamas conflict.