gaza bombing hospital al-shifa
Over 30,000 Palestinians have been killed.

Gaza: Hospitals Struggle Under Israeli Bombardment

Officials from Gaza have stated that Israel launched air strikes on or near at least three hospitals on Friday, further emphasising the Palestinian enclave’s precarious health system as it struggles to cope with thousands of people who have either been wounded or displaced in Israel’s war against Hamas militants.

“The Israeli occupation launched simultaneous strikes on a number of hospitals during the past hours,” Gaza Ministry of Health spokesman Ashraf Al-Qidra told Al Jazeera television.

The medical facilities included Gaza’s biggest hospital, Al Jazeera Shifa, where Israel said Hamas had hidden command centres and tunnels, allegations which Hamas has denied.

Mr Qidra said Israel targeted the Gaza City medical complex’s courtyard and there were casualties, but he did not provide details.

Israel’s military did not immediately comment on Mr Qidra’s statement, which Reuters could not independently verify.

Gaza’s hospitals have struggled to care for victims of Israel’s month-old military campaign, aimed at obliterating Palestinian militant group Hamas, as medical supplies, clean water and fuel to power generators run out.

Gaza’s health ministry has said 18 of Gaza’s 35 hospitals and 40 other health centres were out of service either due to damage from bombardment or lack of fuel.

Palestinian media published video footage on Friday of Al Shifa, which Reuters was not immediately able to authenticate, that it said showed the aftermath of an Israeli attack on a parking lot where displaced Palestinians were sheltered and journalists were observing.

A pool of blood could be seen next to the body of a man being placed on a stretcher.

“With ongoing strikes and fighting nearby (Al Shifa), we are gravely concerned about the well-being of thousands of civilians there, many children among them, seeking medical care and shelter,” Human Rights Watch said on social media site X.

Mr Qidra said Al-Rantisi Pediatric Hospital and Al-Nasr Children’s Hospital “have been witnessing a series of direct attacks and bombardments” on Friday.

He said strikes on the hospital grounds at Al-Rantisi set vehicles on fire, but they had been partly extinguished.

Israel unleashed its assault in response to a cross-border Hamas raid on southern Israel from Gaza on October 7 in which Israel said 1,400 people, mostly civilians, were killed and about 240 taken hostage.

Israel said it had lost 35 soldiers in Gaza.

Palestinian officials said 10,812 Gaza residents had been killed as of Thursday, about 40 per cent of them children, in air and artillery strikes.

A humanitarian catastrophe has unfolded as basic supplies like food and water run out and shelling displaces civilians from their homes.

Israel’s military said it had evidence that Hamas uses Al Shifa and other hospitals, such as the Indonesian Hospital, to hide command posts and entry points to an extensive tunnel network under Gaza.

It insisted it did not target civilians and had allowed some wounded Palestinian civilians to cross into Egypt for treatment.

However, Israel’s military advance on central Gaza City, which brought tanks within about 1.2km (3/4 mile) of Al Shifa, has raised concerns as to how Israel will interpret international laws on protecting medical centres and displaced people sheltering there.

SOURCE: Reuters