News ID : 153359
Publish Date : 10/19/2023 11:02:43 AM
Bombing of Gaza hospital not first time Israel has targeted hospitals

Press TV Staff Writer

Bombing of Gaza hospital not first time Israel has targeted hospitals

As doctors and paramedics were treating critically wounded patients at Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in the besieged Gaza Strip on Tuesday evening, a massive explosion ripped through the hospital complex.

NOURNEWS- As doctors and paramedics were treating critically wounded patients at Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in the besieged Gaza Strip on Tuesday evening, a massive explosion ripped through the hospital complex.

Moments later, piles of lifeless bodies were lying scattered all around the complex, while rescue workers desperately tried to move the wounded and revive those who were taking final breaths.

Footage shared online showed chaos and commotion and plumes of smoke rising from the hospital building, with an initial death toll put at 500. The toll has since then jumped to more than 800.

Holding a press conference outside the hospital, among the dead bodies and remains of the victims of the Israeli airstrike, doctors appeared visibly shaken by the blast but put up a brave front.

“We were performing surgery at the Baptist hospital when a strong explosion occurred and the ceiling fell on the operating room… This is a massacre,” Ghassan Abu Sitta, a doctor associated with Doctors Without Borders, said during the briefing, according to media reports.

Among those killed included internally displaced people who had taken shelter at the hospital. They were displaced following the Israeli regime’s evacuation orders and bombing of convoys.

The Israeli regime has refused to accept responsibility for the attack, shifting the blame on the Islamic Jihad resistance group based in the Gaza Strip. The group has vehemently denied any role in it.

US President Joe Biden, who landed in Tel Aviv on Wednesday morning, called the massacre an “explosion,” and echoed the Israeli narrative that the perpetrator was “another party.”

Representatives of the EU, Germany, France and several other Western countries have demanded an investigation into the incident, without naming the Tel Aviv regime as the perpetrator.

Pertinently, it is not the first time the occupying regime has bombed hospitals.

Hospitals targeted, damaged this week

In the last week, Israeli regime officials attacked many healthcare centers and killed a number of medics in both the Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank, according to multiple reports.

On 12 October 2023, in Gaza, a husband-wife duo of anesthesiologist and doctor were killed with their children by Israeli missiles. A day later, the residence of a Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) staff member was bombed by Israeli forces.

On the same day, October 13, Durrah Children’s Hospital was bombed with internationally prohibited white phosphorus munitions fired by the Israeli forces. The banned munitions have been widely used by the regime forces in both the Gaza Strip and southern Lebanon.

Also on October 13, Al Awda Hospital in Jabalia City, North Gaza governorate, was forced to evacuate by the Israeli military, despite many critical patients admitted there.

On October 14, Jordan Field Hospital in Gaza was attacked and badly damaged by the indiscriminate Israeli forces shelling and rendered completely dysfunctional.

The same day, the Palestinian Red Crescent was ordered by the Israeli army to evacuate Al-Quds Hospital in Gaza, leaving patients, including wounded women and children, to fend for themselves.

Similarly, Al Shifa Hospital, Al-Wafa Medical Centre, and Abu Youself al-Najjar Hospital were also forced to evacuate, and Abu Youself al-Najjar Hospital was even damaged by Israeli shelling.

In Gaza City, the same day, Israeli airstrikes targeted and damaged the Al-Quds Hospital, where hundreds of families were taking shelter from the aerial blitz.

Hamas condemned the Israeli calls to evacuate the hospitals, calling on the UN and other relevant international institutions to intervene urgently to stop “Israel's plans to target hospitals, medical staff, and other institutions working in the humanitarian field.”

Hospitals, doctors, and war crimes

The classic Israeli cover-up and unsubstantiated claims that they do not attack hospitals hold no water, as the regime has been responsible for many dastardly attacks on hospitals in the past.

In 2006, the Israeli siege of Gaza and attacks on power plants made conditions for hospital work virtually impossible, putting the lives of thousands of patients at risk.

The situation has worsened since the aggression of 2008 and 2009 when hospitals became a direct target. According to the World Health Organization, half of the 122 health facilities were found to be damaged or destroyed during this period.

Overall, 15 of Gaza's 27 hospitals and 41 primary healthcare centers suffered damage, and 29 ambulances were partially damaged or destroyed.

After Al-Quds Hospital was bombed, Israeli snipers shot fleeing Palestinian civilians and doctors evacuated patients under their fire to the already full Al-Shifa Hospital.

The Israeli regime justified these heinous attacks with lies that rockets were fired from hospitals, for which it did not provide any evidence and which was not confirmed by any international organization.

The consequences of these crimes were felt even after the conflict, as Abdel Aziz Rantisi Specialist Hospital for Children saw an increase in blood cancer cases, and Al-Shifa Hospital saw a 60 percent increase in children with birth defects.

In the 2014 Israeli aggression, the third floor of the Al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir al-Balah, which housed an intensive care unit and operating rooms, was struck by Israeli tank shelling, killing five people and wounding more than 40 others.

Two days later, Israel also bombed Al-Wafa hospital in Gaza, falsely claiming it was a Hamas command center. Luckily, no one was injured because the patients and medical staff had left the facility before the attack.

Al-Shifa Hospital was also targeted with the same false claims, which Norwegian doctor Mads Gilbert disputed, stating that he was in the building and did not see any members of Hamas.

In late December 2020, Israeli warplanes launched five missiles at the Gaza Center for People with Disabilities, the Mohammad Al-Durrah Children’s Hospital and the Shuhada School, all located in the At-Tuffah neighborhood of Gaza City.

When the missiles struck the children’s hospital, 16 Palestinian children were admitted there, including three in the intensive care unit, causing fear and shock among the ailing children.

The nurses testified that the huge explosion that shook the building and shattered the windows, everyone at the hospital panicked, and parents were scared to the point they started carrying their sick children and running for cover toward safer rooms.

The Gaza Center for People with Disabilities, where 60 students with disabilities aged between 14 and 28 were housed, also faced a similar experience.

According to UN data, Israeli airstrikes against Gaza during the pandemic damaged six hospitals and nine primary health care centers, among other civilian infrastructure.

Gaza’s main COVID-19 laboratory and the Palestinian Ministry of Health offices were also hit, and at least two prominent doctors were killed.

The victims included Moeen Al-Aloul, the health ministry neurologist, and Ayman Abu Alouf, the internal medicine consultant who was leading the COVID-19 team at Al-Shifa Hospital.

Pre-cursor to Gaza hospital bombing

Before Tuesday’s bombing of a hospital, doctors in the Gaza Strip had warned that thousands were on the verge of death amid an acute shortage of fuel and other basic supplies due to the Israeli blockade.

Even the United Nations warned that hospitals would run out of generator fuel within two days, which would endanger the lives of thousands of patients wounded in the Israeli aerial blitz.

The coastal strip’s only power plant shut down due to a shortage of fuel after the Israeli regime sealed off the 40-kilometer territory following the AL-Aqsa Storm operation by the Hamas resistance last week.

Many had taken shelter in Gaza-based hospitals – Al-Ahli Arab Hospital, Shifa Hospital, Kamal Adwan Hospital, Nasser Hospital and others – after the regime ordered more than 1 million Palestinians – constituting almost half the territory's population – to move from north to south.

Located in central Gaza, Al-Ahli Arab Hospital was run by the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem.

There are reports that the Israeli regime authorities had warned about an hour ago about the impending strike, and the regime officials even initially acknowledged that it was an Israeli strike.

However, they later changed the narrative and blamed the Islamic Jihad resistance movement, a claim that was even repeated by Biden while addressing a joint presser with the Israeli premier in Tel Aviv

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