The conflict in Gaza has reached the doorstep of al-Shifa Hospital, the largest hospital complex in the region, as Israel’s military intensifies its bombardment. The hospital, where numerous injured and displaced individuals are seeking refuge, has been plunged into a dire situation.
Muhammad Abu Salmiya, the director of al-Shifa Hospital, emphasised the imminent threat to lives. The facility had to suspend operations due to a lack of power and fuel. Abu Salmiya reported that Israeli snipers are targeting the hospital buildings, making any movement within the compound perilous. Tragically, a member of the medical crew attempting to assist newborns in the incubator was shot and killed.
Gaza’s Deputy Health Minister presently inside al-Shifa Hospital, highlighted the critical situation. All generators are offline, leaving the hospital in darkness. The intensive care unit received a mortar shell, resulting in casualties. Sniper presence impedes free movement within the compound.
Israel alleges that al-Shifa serves as a cover for a Hamas command centre, an accusation vehemently denied by the hospital’s director. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Turk, visiting the region, stated that any armed group using civilian infrastructure for protection violates the laws of war. However, he emphasised Israel’s obligation to spare civilians, regardless of Palestinian armed groups’ actions, citing the devastating impact on civilians which is also in contravention of the laws of war.