Gaza’s Al-Shifa Hospital Faces Fuel Shortages Amid Intense Fighting
The ongoing conflict between Israeli troops and Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip has resulted in the deaths of a premature baby and two patients at Al-Shifa hospital, according to the Hamas-run health ministry. The hospital has been grappling with fuel shortages, which have severely impacted its ability to provide adequate care to patients.
Fuel shortages have been affecting the hospital for several days now, leading to the deaths of six premature babies and nine patients. The intense fighting in the north Gaza area has forced hospitals to shut down due to shortages and combat. The Hamas-run health ministry has reported an increase in the number of patients dying at Al-Shifa hospital, the largest medical center in Gaza.
Israel claims that Hamas has built its military headquarters in tunnels beneath the Al-Shifa hospital complex. However, UN agencies and doctors inside the facility have warned that the ongoing battles are taking a toll on civilians, including infants. Witnesses have reported violent fighting, aerial bombardments, and gunfire echoing across the hospital, turning it into an urban war zone.
Youssef Abu Rish, the deputy health minister in Gaza, stated that all hospitals in the north of the embattled territory are currently out of service. The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that up to 3,000 patients and staff are sheltering inside Al-Shifa hospital without adequate fuel, water, or food. The dire situation has prompted WHO director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to describe their plight as “dire and perilous.”
The Israeli army continues its campaign to destroy Hamas, despite international pressure to minimize civilian suffering. Israel’s massive air and ground operation has resulted in the deaths of thousands of people, including children. Flags flew at half-mast at United Nations compounds across Asia as staff observed a minute’s silence in memory of colleagues killed in Gaza during the conflict.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has urged Israel to show “maximum restraint” while condemning Hamas for using hospitals and civilians as human shields. The Israel Defense Forces have reported heavy fighting and reiterated their claim that Hamas is hiding in civilian infrastructure. Israeli forces have discovered explosive devices, weapons, and military equipment in various locations, including mosques and residences.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ruled out calls for a cease-fire, stating that Hamas must first release the hostages. A recent poll in Israel showed that many Israelis support talks with Hamas to secure the release of hostages but believe that fighting should not be halted. There have been active negotiations on a potential deal to free the hostages, although details remain undisclosed.
The humanitarian disaster in Gaza has garnered international attention, with protests held worldwide in solidarity with the 2.4 million people under bombardment and siege for more than five weeks. Humanitarian aid deliveries have been limited, with concerns that fuel deliveries could be used by Hamas militants. The UN agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA has reported that almost 1.6 million people, about two-thirds of Gaza’s population, have been internally displaced since the conflict began.
The situation at Al-Shifa hospital is dire, with the Palestinian Red Crescent warning that it is now out of service due to a lack of generator fuel. Tens of thousands of Gazans have already fled from the north of the territory under Israeli orders, but it remains unclear how the sick and injured will be transported from Al-Shifa. The Israeli military has announced a “self-evacuation corridor” to allow people to move from Al-Shifa southward, but the area is still the scene of intense battles.
In an attempt to address the fuel shortage, the Israeli army claims to have delivered 300 liters of fuel near the hospital for urgent medical purposes. However, Al-Shifa director Mohammad Abu Salmiya has dismissed these claims as lies, stating that 300 liters would only power generators for a short period of time.
The ongoing conflict in Gaza has resulted in a dire humanitarian crisis, with hospitals struggling to provide essential care due to fuel shortages. The international community continues to call for an end to the violence and for measures to protect the lives of civilians caught in the crossfire.