Israeli air strikes in Gaza have killed more than a dozen people and destroyed the main hospital’s cardiac ward, Gaza officials say, as fighting continues in the besieged strip.
The strikes continue as Israel steps up its offensive near Gaza’s main hospital, al-Shifa, where health officials say thousands of medics, patients and displaced people are trapped with no electricity and dwindling supplies.
Director of al-Shifa Hospital Muhammad Abu Salmiya, said two intensive care unit patients had died due to lack of electricity and oxygen. He said the others were at risk of dying if the lack of fuel at the hospital continued. “If this catastrophic situation continues, all ICU patients will die,” he told Arab news channels.
The hospital has repeatedly come under fire as Israeli forces close in on the facility, which it accuses Hamas fighters of using as cover for a command centre – charges Hamas denies. Israel has not provided proof for its claims.
One air strike destroyed the hospital’s cardiac ward, Gaza officials said, while electricity cuts shut off incubators in the neonatal unit hosting around 40 babies and ventilators for others receiving urgent care.
Doctors Without Borders surgeon Mohammed Obeid said in an audio message posted on social media that two babies died in the al-Shifa neonatal unit after power to their incubators depleted and a man also died when his ventilator cut off.
Israel has waged a devastating bombing campaign and ground incursion in the besieged Gaza Strip since October 7, killing at least 11,000 Palestinians, more than a third of them children, Gaza officials say. The UN’s agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) says at least 100 of its employees have been killed in the war.
The Israeli campaign has also displaced some 1.6 million Palestinians, over 70 percent of the enclave’s total population, and wrecked much of its infrastructure.
Palestinians forced from their homes now live in dire conditions, often sheltering in overcrowded outdoor camps and in desperate need of food, water and medicine. Humanitarian workers say what little aid has been allowed into the enclave is a “drop in the bucket” compared to what is needed.