At least 12 people were killed by bombardment at a hospital in northeast Gaza surrounded by Israeli tanks, local health officials say, the latest reported deaths at the enclave’s medical facilities during Israel’s war against Hamas.
The situation at the Indonesian Hospital in the town of Beit Lahia has not yet been addressed by the Israeli military. Health officials in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip say around 700 patients and 5,000 displaced people were sheltering in the hospital before the strikes began.
Munner al-Bursh, general manager of Gaza’s health ministry, told Al Jazeera that the hospital was hit by artillery overnight. He alleged that the surgical department was targeted and that 12 civilians were killed in the blasts while several doctors were injured. Al-Bursh also claimed that several people were then gunned down by Israeli forces as they tried to leave the hospital, and that no one has been able to collect their bodies.
Director-General of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus wrote on X: “@WHO is appalled by an attack on the Indonesian Hospital in #Gaza, reportedly resulting in 12 deaths, including patients, and tens of injuries, including critical and life-threatening ones. Health workers and civilians should never have to be exposed to such horror, and especially while inside a hospital.”
The Palestinian Wafa news agency on Monday claimed that drones armed with missiles were also taking part in the siege and that staff were now sheltering on the hospitals lower floors owing to the “intense firing of bullets” higher up.
Israel has claimed its forces are concentrating on “terror infrastructure” and has alleged that Hamas uses civilians as human shields, including in hospitals. Hamas has denied the claims. On Sunday, the Israeli military released videos which it claimed proves Hamas uses Al-Shifa Hospital—Gaza’s biggest medical facility—as part of its operations. Israel besieged and then stormed the facility last week, alleging that a Hamas command center is under the site.
Now it appears that a similar scenario is playing out at the Indonesian Hospital, which was created in 2016 with the funding of several Indonesian organizations. Like all of the other health facilities in the north of Gaza, the site is mostly non-functioning but is still providing shelter for displaced people and patients.
“The attack is a clear violation of international humanitarian laws,” Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said. “All countries, especially those that have close relations with Israel, must use all their influence and capabilities to urge Israel to stop its atrocities.”
According to Reuters, witnesses have also reported heavy fighting between Israeli forces and Hamas gunmen as Israel approaches the Jabalia refugee camp. The northern site with 100,000 residents is Gaza’s largest refugee camp and, according to Israel, a major stronghold for Hamas. On Sunday, an Israeli military spokesman used an Arabic social media post to urge residents in the camp and surrounding communities to evacuate south “immediately in order to preserve your safety.”
Israeli strikes have continued in the south despite the order since the outbreak of the now six-week-old war. Almost three-quarters of Gaza’s population—around 1.7 million people—have now been displaced, with 900,000 seeking refuge in massively over-crowded U.N.-operated shelters, according to the U.N.
Gaza’s health system is now in total disarray, with humanitarian organizations calling for a dramatic increase in aid to be brought into the enclave. On Monday, dozens of trucks carrying equipment from Jordan entered Gaza via Egypt to establish a field hospital in the southern town of Khan Younis—where 70 people were killed and dozens more were hurt in strikes on Saturday, according to Doctors Without Borders.
Separately on Monday, at least 28 of the 31 premature babies evacuated from Al-Shifa Hospital crossed out of Gaza and into Egypt on Monday. The Palestinian Red Crescent Society said the evacuations were necessitated by power outages at the hospital and the babies’ “consumption of contaminated water and milk, leading to health complications that require urgent treatment abroad.”