Palestinian authorities proposed a Red Cross-supervised evacuation of a hospital beset by fighting in Gaza on Tuesday, despite Israeli offers to provide incubators.
After days of battles with Palestinian terrorists, Israeli forces have encircled Shifa Hospital, where hundreds of patients, medical staff, and displaced people are trapped with dwindling supplies and without electricity to run incubators and other equipment. The IDF announced the transfer of incubators to the hospital on Tuesday, although it was unclear if Hamas would let them arrive at the place after being placed nearby.
The war, now in its sixth week, was triggered by Hamas’ surprise attack into Israel, in which terrorists murdered some 1200 civilians and soldiers and dragged some 240 hostages back to Gaza.
Hamas released a video late Monday showing one of the hostages, who identifies herself as 19-year-old Noa Marciano, before and after she was killed in what Hamas said was an Israeli strike. The military later declared her a fallen soldier, without identifying a cause of death.
She is the first hostage confirmed to have died in captivity. Four were released by Hamas and a fifth was rescued by Israeli forces.
Israel accuses Hamas of using hospitals as cover for its fighters, and that the terrorists have set up their main command center in and beneath Shifa. I
The ministry said 40 patients, including three babies, have died since the hospital’s emergency generator ran out of fuel Saturday.
- The IDF said it placed fuel several blocks from Shifa, but Hamas terrorists prevented staff from reaching it.
According to the ministry, 36 babies remain who are at risk of dying because there is no power for incubators.
The Israeli military said it had started an effort to transfer incubators to Shifa.
- But Christian Lindmeier, a spokesman for the World Health Organization, said they would be useless without electricity and that the only way to save the newborns was to move them out of Gaza.
International law gives hospitals special protections during war. Hospitals can lose those protections if combatants use them to hide fighters or store weapons, but staff and patients must be given plenty of warning to evacuate, and the harm to civilians cannot be disproportionate to the military objective.
On Monday, the military released footage of a children’s hospital that its forces entered over the weekend, showing weapons it said it found inside, as well as rooms in the basement where it believes terrorists were holding hostages. The video showed what appeared to be a hastily installed toilet and ventilation system in the basement.
The Red Cross tried Monday to evacuate some 6,000 people from another Gaza City hospital, Al-Quds, but said its convoy had to turn back because of shelling and fighting.
Israel has urged civilians to evacuate Gaza City and surrounding areas in the north, but the southern part of the besieged territory is not much safer. Israel carries out frequent airstrikes throughout Gaza, hitting what it says are terrorist targets but often killing women and children.
- Some 1.5 million Palestinians, more than two thirds of Gaza’s population, have fled their homes, and U.N.-run shelters in the south are already severely overcrowded.
- About 250,000 Israelis have evacuated from communities near Gaza, where Palestinian terrorists still fire barrages of rockets, and along the northern border, where Israel and Lebanon’s Hezbollah terrorist group have repeatedly traded fire.
Source: ISRAEL HAYOM