The World Health Organisation has said Gaza’s largest hospital is “nearly a cemetery” as Palestinian authorities accuse Israel of targeting the building.
Israeli officials insist that a Hamas command-and-control centre is located beneath the hospital. This claim is denied by both the hospital and Hamas.
The beleaguered health centre is also enduring power cuts and a lack of fuel. Hospital management has said that it is under “blockade” by Israeli ground forces.
The Israeli Defence Force has said that there is fighting in the area surrounding Al-Shifa, but they are not targeting the hospital, and that people are free to leave as they choose.
Al-Shifa’s manager, Dr Mohamed Abu Selmia, told the BBC that Israeli authorities had still not allowed for 150 corpses, now decomposing, to be brought from the hospital to be buried.
WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier told the BBC:
“Around the hospital there are dead bodies which cannot be taken care of or not even be buried or taken away to any sort of morgue.
“The hospital is not working at all any more as it should. It’s nearly a cemetery.”
The Palestinian health ministry has said there are at least 2,300 people still inside the hospital, including roughly 650 patients, up to 500 staff and a further 1,500 people seeking shelter.
Power outages have left dozens of premature babies in peril as incubators cannot function.
Dr Selmia told the BBC that negotiations with Israeli authorities to help evacuate the babies had taken place but no agreement has been reached.
Mark Regev, adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said Hamas has not accepted the “practical solutions” to evacuate the babies that his government has offered.
US President Joe Biden said he hoped for “less intrusive action” by Israeli forces at Al-Shifa.
Simon Harris, Ireland’s Higher Education Minister, said today that Israel “has become blinded by rage” and is conducting a “war against children.”
“You cannot build peace on the mass graves of children,” Harris said.