Panicked Gaza hospital staff evacuate patients after missile strike


GAZA: Israeli missiles struck the emergency department of a northern Gaza hospital on Tuesday, medics said, prompting panicked medical staff to rush patients on hospital beds and stretchers to the rubble-strewn street outside.

Video obtained by Reuters showed medics in blue scrubs wheeling patients out of the hospital compound in Jabalia, shouting in fear and looking back as if expecting further strikes.

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“The first missile when it hit, it hit the entrance of the emergency department. We tried to enter, and then a second missile hit, and the third hit the building nearby,” said Hussam Abu Safia, the head of Kamal Adwan Hospital.

“We cannot go back inside to them. We really never imagined that one day the emergency department will be hit. The emergency department provides a service for children, the elderly and people inside the departments of the hospital.”

The Israeli military (IDF) said it had seen reports of the incident, which it said was under review.

“The IDF is looking into the source of the hit and is reviewing the possibility that it was IDF’s stray fire that was not directed at the hospital,” it said in a written reply to a question on the incident.

One man was filmed cradling what looked to be a newborn baby wrapped in blue cloth. An elderly man was bumped on a wheeled stretcher along shattered streets towards an ambulance. Others from the hospital, most of them women and some in scrubs or white coats, ran away in fear.

“As you can see, (this is) the evacuation of the wounded and the team from inside the medical complex. The medical team has left under bombardment, fire and tanks from the Kamal Adwan medical complex,” said Palestinian emergency worker Fares Afana.

Reuters could not independently verify the accounts of the events.

Israel said it has returned to Jabalia, where it had claimed to have dismantled Hamas military units months ago, to prevent the Palestinian militant group that controls Gaza from regrouping.

A Gaza health ministry spokesperson told Reuters patients were being evacuated to the Baptist Hospital in Gaza City and to other medical points set up in the northern part of the enclave.

Gaza’s healthcare system has essentially collapsed since Israel began its military offensive there after the Oct. 7 cross-border attacks by Palestinian Hamas militants on Israelis.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Tuesday that Al-Awda Hospital, also in northern Gaza, had been under siege since Sunday, with 148 hospital staff and 22 patients and the people accompanying them trapped inside.

Fighting near Kamal Adwan Hospital had jeopardised its ability to care for patients, he told reporters in Geneva.

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“These are the only two functional hospitals remaining in northern Gaza,” Tedros said. “Ensuring their ability to deliver health services is imperative.”

The Israeli military said it acted in accordance with international law and the special protections conferred on hospitals and made ‘every effort’ to prevent harm to civilians.

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