Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza Struggles with Supplies Amidst Israeli Searches

A makeshift operating theater area is seen inside Al Shifa hospital during Israel's ground operation around the hospital, in Gaza City November 12, 2023. Ahmed El Mokhallalati/via REUTERS

Food, water scarcity, and continuous searches mark the crisis at Al Shifa Hospital in the Gaza Strip, as Israeli forces continue their operation

The situation at Gaza Strip‘s Al Shifa hospital has reached a critical point, with food and water supplies running low amidst ongoing Israeli military searches, according to medical staff at the facility.

Dr. Ahmed El Mokhallalati, speaking to Reuters by telephone, described the conditions in the hospital as “difficult” and “totally terrifying.” Despite these challenges, no infant fatalities have been reported since Israeli troops entered the hospital on Wednesday.

Israeli Claims and Hospital Search

Israeli forces have been conducting thorough searches of the hospital complex based on claims that Hamas, the Palestinian militant group, has established a command center beneath the facility. This claim is vehemently denied by Hamas. Dr. Mokhallalati, a surgeon with international training, stated, “They have found nothing. They have found no single resistance. No single gunshot, against them within the hospital area.”

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Critical Shortage of Supplies

The Israeli military’s incursion has exacerbated the already dire situation in the hospital, which is filled with patients and displaced individuals. Dr. Mokhallalati highlighted the acute shortage of essentials: “We run out of food, we ran out of drinking water.” He further noted that the supplies provided by the Israeli military were “very, very minimal,” inadequately meeting the needs of the people in the hospital.

Babies that were previously in incubators have been moved to beds in a surgical ward, after a lack of electricity forced the neonatal unit to shut down. Reuters

Global Concern Over Hospital Conditions

The international community has expressed concern over the situation at Al Shifa, one of Gaza’s largest medical facilities. Dr. Mohamed Tabasha, head of the paediatric department, reported on Monday that three newborn babies had died due to mounting problems in the hospital, and that the 36 remaining newborns were at risk. However, by Friday, no additional infant deaths had occurred.

Israeli Military’s Findings

Amidst the searches, the Israeli military announced on Thursday the discovery of a Hamas tunnel shaft and a vehicle with weapons in the hospital complex. They released videos and photographs to support these claims.