Politics, Middle East

Northern Gaza Strip hospital refuses Israeli order to evacuate

There are patients in serious condition who are impossible to transport, says hospital's chief of medicine

Ikram Kouachi  | 14.10.2023 - Update : 15.10.2023
Northern Gaza Strip hospital refuses Israeli order to evacuate

GAZA CITY, Palestine

Citing patients in serious condition and the continuing need for health care, medical teams at a hospital in the northern Gaza Strip are refusing the Israeli army’s order to evacuate, according to the hospital’s chief of medicine.

“I got a call from the Israeli army Friday asking us to evacuate the hospital,” Ahmed Muhanna of Al Awda Hospital in the city of Jabalia told Anadolu. “This is not possible.”

“Some patients were evacuated, but some other patients cannot be transferred due to their serious condition,” he added, indicating that the hospital is providing intensive medical care for five patients.

“The hospital staff, including 35 doctors and medical aides, are determined to stay and provide health care to patients,” he said.

Earlier reports said the army gave the hospital just two hours to evacuate and then gave it more time, but the evacuation order remains in effect.

On Friday the Israeli military warned 1.1 million residents of northern Gaza to evacuate “within 24 hours” and move south.

The UN warned it would be impossible for Palestinians in Gaza to obey the order to leave the north without “devastating humanitarian consequences.”

A week ago Israeli forces launched a sustained and forceful military campaign against the Gaza Strip in response to a military offensive by the Palestinian group Hamas in Israeli territories.

The conflict began last Saturday when Hamas initiated Operation Al-Aqsa Flood -- a multi-pronged surprise attack including a barrage of rocket launches and infiltrations into Israel via land, sea and air.

Hamas said the operation was in retaliation for the storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem and Israeli settlers’ growing violence against Palestinians.

The Israeli military then launched Operation Swords of Iron against Hamas targets within the Gaza Strip.

That response has extended into cutting water and electricity supplies to Gaza, further worsening the living conditions in an area that has reeled under a crippling siege since 2007.

* Writing by Ikram Kouachi

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