Mahmud Hams Agence France-Presse During the night from Friday to Saturday, a strike against three buildings in Khan Younès still left 26 dead and 23 seriously injured, according to the director of the Nasser hospital in this town in the south of the Gaza Strip.
Adel Zaanoun – Agence France-Presse and Sarah Benhaida – Agence France-Presse respectively in the Gaza Strip and Jerusalem
November 18, 2023
- Middle East
Hundreds of people evacuated Saturday the largest hospital in Gaza where, according to the UN, there were at least 2,300 patients, doctors and displaced people trapped by the war between Hamas and Israel in the Palestinian territory where an air strike left 26 dead overnight.
On the 43rd day of the conflict, they left the hospital on foot, a huge complex in the west of Gaza City, a journalist from the 'AFP on site. But medical staff said that 120 patients, including premature babies, were still in the establishment.
“Many patients cannot leave the hospital because they are in intensive care or in incubators,” Dr. Ahmed el-Mokhallalati, who will stay “with five other doctors [and] 120 patients,” explained on X. /p>
These columns of displaced people, medical personnel and patients, some injured and very weak, took the direction of the Salaheddine road, which leads towards the south of Gaza where the Israeli army orders the population to take refuge.
On the way, the AFP journalist saw at least fifteen bodies, some in an advanced state of decomposition. All around, the roads are broken, stores destroyed, cars overturned or crushed.
The Israeli army, which is carrying out a raid on al-Chifa hospital for the fourth consecutive day and whose tanks are surrounding the hospital, is searching the complex “building by building”. It houses, according to her, a Hamas den installed in particular in a network of tunnels. The Palestinian Islamist movement categorically denies these allegations.
Electricity stopped working there several days ago and its department heads report that several dozen patients have died “because vital medical equipment stopped working due to power outage.”
Retaliatory bombings on the Gaza Strip have been incessant since Hamas carried out an attack of unprecedented scale and violence on Israeli soil on October 7 that left 1,200 dead, mostly civilians, and kidnapped with other armed groups around 240 people, according to Israeli authorities.
According to the Hamas Ministry of Health, Israeli strikes killed at least 12,000 Palestinian civilians, including 5,000 children.
Negotiations on the release of the hostages are being held through mediation by Qatar, but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refuses any ceasefire until they have all been released.
In Israel , a procession of 25,000 people, according to its organizers, to demand their release must arrive Saturday afternoon in Jerusalem and gather in front of Mr. Netanyahu's offices.
The bodies of two female hostages, including a 19-year-old female soldier, Noa Marciano, were found this week in buildings near al-Chifa hospital. The army also lost 51 soldiers, killed in combat in Gaza.
During the night from Friday to Saturday, a strike against three buildings in Khan Younes left 26 dead and 23 seriously injured, according to the director of the Nasser hospital in this town in the south of the Gaza Strip.
< p>“I was sleeping and we were surprised by the strike, at least 20 bombs were dropped,” Imed al-Moubacher, 45, told AFP.
“Suddenly, the house caught fire, I found myself with gravel in my mouth, I immediately looked for my husband and my daughters,” added his wife, Sabrine Moussa.
“I saw human remains everywhere, I screamed for help,” she said, adding that her brother had been killed during a strike on the family home in early November.
Israel, which has vowed to “annihilate” Hamas, has been carrying out bombings in parallel ground operations since October 27. They are concentrated in the north of the territory, in Gaza City transformed into a field of ruins and around hospitals. The army accuses Hamas of using them as bases and of using the sick as “human shields”.
The territory has been placed under “complete siege” by Israel since October 9, which cut off deliveries of food, water, electricity and medicine passing through the Rafah crossing on the border with Egypt in southern Gaza. According to Hamas, 24 of Gaza's 35 hospitals have stopped functioning.
Faced with shortages, the population faces “an immediate risk of famine”, warned the United Nations World Food Program (WFP).
In New York, the head of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, criticized the “increasingly unjustifiable scale of Israel's response.”
According to the UN, more than two-thirds of the Gaza Strip's 2.4 million residents were displaced by the war. Most fled to the south, carrying the minimum and surviving in the cold that sets in.
The fuel comes in
At the request of the United States, Israel authorized the daily entry of two tanker trucks into the Gaza Strip on Friday. A first delivery of 17,000 liters of fuel arrived in the evening at the Rafah terminal in order to restart the electricity generators of hospitals and telecommunications networks, according to the authority of the Palestinian part of the terminal.
Israel has so far refused to pass the gasoline, saying it could benefit the military activities of Hamas, which seized power in Gaza in 2007 and is classified as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union and Israel. .
But these deliveries represent only a small part of the quantities, or 50 trucks, which entered Gaza daily before the start of the war, according to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees ( UNRWA).
This agency announced on Friday that it would soon no longer be able to coordinate the distribution of humanitarian aid in Gaza due to the communications cut.
According to UNRWA, 70% of the population does not have access to drinking water in the south of the territory, where sewage has started to flow into the streets, as treatment plants have stopped working for lack of fuel.
On Saturday morning, eight injured or sick Palestinian children were transferred to Abu Dhabi for treatment as part of a United Arab Emirates humanitarian mission for a thousand children. “Next week we will have evacuated everyone we can because time is running out and we are losing lives,” Mohammed Al Kaabi, of the Emirati Red Crescent, told AFP.
Tensions in the West Bank
Tensions are also high in the West Bank, territory occupied since 1967 by Israel, where around 200 Palestinians have been killed by settlers and Israeli soldiers since October 7, according to the ministry Palestinian Health.
Five fighters from Fatah, the movement of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, were killed Saturday in a strike in the Balata camp, near Nablus, known for hosting different groups armed, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent and sources within Fatah.
In Jenin, another stronghold of the Palestinian armed movements, the Israeli army killed “five terrorists” on Friday. And in Hebron, two Palestinians were killed by the Israeli army, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.