ISM Update: Medical Teams Under Fire
As Israel targets the wounded, international volunteers to stay at al-Shifa hospital
At 19:00 Beit Hanoun Hospital was hit by an Israeli tank shell. Inside the hospital are 61 medical staff, three patients, civilians, and ISM volunteers who are all trapped inside. Israeli soldiers are in the area, approximately 150 meters behind the hospital. Gunfire can be heard in the area.
This afternoon Israeli forces targeted an ambulance with two paramedics inside in Beit Hanoun, North Gaza. One paramedic was killed and another was critically injured.
This is the third Israeli attack on Gazan medical facilities and personnel in the last 24 hours. The first resulted in the destruction of Al Durrah Children’s Hospital in Gaza City last night. A two year-old child in the Intensive Care Unit was killed, and 30 others injured.
Since Israel began its attack on Gaza, 13 ambulances have been completely destroyed and two paramedics have been killed. Throughout the massacre, medical staff and facilities have been repeatedly targeted.
“Israel’s attacks on Gaza hospitals are ongoing, with those in areas by the separation barrier forced to evacuate their patients, paramedics and other rescue workers are doing what they can under conditions of great risk.” Stated Joe Catron, U.S. International Solidarity Movement activist.
According to the Gazan Ministry of Health, six out of Gaza’s 13 hospitals have already been severely damaged. One, el-Wafa rehabilitation hospital, has been completely destroyed. Two medical clinics have been completely destroyed, seven other clinics have been damaged, 13 medical staff members have been injured, and five have been killed.
The Ministry of Health in Gaza has demanded, “the immediate cessation of Israeli occupation military attacks against medical facilities and personnel in Gaza, and demands that the international community soundly condemn this latest Israeli atrocity, and hold Israel accountable for these war crimes.”
International volunteers from countries including Spain, Sweden, the United states, the United Kingdom, France, New Zealand, Australia, and Venezuela have begun a constant protective presence in various locations at the al-Shifa Hospital.
At 2:30 PM this afternoon, a press conference will be held at al-Shifa regarding the Israeli attacks on the health and emergency sector in Gaza.
According to the Gazan Ministry of Health, six out of Gaza’s 13 hospitals have already been severely damaged. One, el-Wafa rehabilitation hospital, has been completely destroyed. Two medical clinic and 12 ambulances have been completely destroyed, seven other clinics have been damaged, 12 medical staff members have been injured, and four have been killed.
Dr. Medhat Abass, Director General of the Ministry of Health told the International Solidarity Movement that, “People are terrified. No where is safe. The hospitals are not safe. The streets are not safe. Homes are not safe. The children and the wounded are not safe. Wounded people leave the bombed areas in ambulances and the ambulances are targeted and hospitals are targeted. There are no red lines.”
“Israel’s ruthless onslaught against Gaza’s hospitals, clinics, and ambulances has pushed its health care sector, already struggling under siege, to the breaking point. With deaths and injuries, including those from Israeli attacks on medical facilities, rapidly mounting, al-Shifa is a red line the world cannot allow Israel to cross.” Stated Joe Catron, a U.S. ISM activist now in al-Shifa.
“They [the Israeli military] are targeting medical facilities, the wounded, the sick, and our children, all over the Gaza Strip. They want us to know that no where is safe.” Stated Dr. Basman Alashi, the executive director of el-Wafa Rehabilitation Hospital. El-Wafa was repeatedly bombed and shelled by Israeli forces, forcing the evacuation of all patients and staff on the 17th then attacked by the military once again on the 23rd, completely destroying it.
“With so many hospitals already dysfunctional due to attacks by the Israeli Occupational Forces, we are deeply concerned with how to safeguard al-Shifa Hospital. It is already overwhelmed with wounded and dying people. If Israel continues bombing, patients are going to end up on the street, as there will be nowhere else for them to go. If anything happens, let it be known that the world was forewarned and did nothing to stop this.” Stated Rina Andolini, a UK volunteer now in al-Shifa.
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