Israeli tanks surround the Indonesian hospital in Gaza News of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

The Ministry of Health said the situation in the only remaining medical facility in the northern Gaza Strip is “catastrophic.”

Israeli tanks surrounded the Indonesian Hospital in the northern Gaza Strip after artillery fire killed at least 12 Palestinians in the compound, according to the health ministry in the war-torn enclave.

Ashraf Al-Qudra, spokesman for the Gaza Ministry of Health, told Al Jazeera on Monday that the “situation is catastrophic” at the Indonesian hospital, where hundreds of people remain trapped.

“Indonesian hospital staff insist they will stay to treat the wounded,” he added. “There are about 700 people, including medical staff and injured people, inside the hospital.”

The Israeli military, which rarely announces troop movements, had no immediate comment.

The Palestinian Wafa News Agency said that the facility located in the town of Beit Lahia, northeast of Gaza, was subjected to artillery shelling. Palestinian health officials said there were frantic efforts to evacuate civilians out of harm’s way.

Hospital workers denied the presence of any armed men in the building.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi condemned Israel’s actions and urged Tel Aviv’s partners to “stop its atrocities.”

“The attack is a clear violation of international humanitarian laws. All countries, especially those with close relations with Israel, must use all their influence and capabilities to urge Israel to stop its atrocities,” she said in a statement.

Progress at the facility, which was established in 2016 with funding from Indonesian organizations, came a day after the World Health Organization evacuated 31 premature babies from Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.

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They were among more than 250 sick or wounded people in critical condition who had been stranded there since Israeli forces entered the compound.

The largest health facility in the region was evacuated at gunpoint after it remained under siege for several days with 7,000 people inside.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported a “collapse of services” in hospitals in the northern Gaza Strip after widespread air strikes and shortages of fuel and medical supplies.

The Israeli military claims that Hamas, the group that rules Gaza, has built underground infrastructure beneath hospitals for military use, something Hamas and medical officials deny.

Satellite image showing damage surrounding the Indonesian hospital [File: Maxar Technologies via AFP]

Marwan Abdullah, a medical worker at the Indonesian hospital, said Israeli tanks were visible from the windows.

“You can see them moving and shooting,” he added. “Women and children are terrified. There are continuous sounds of explosions and gunfire.”

Abdullah said that the hospital received dozens of dead and wounded in air strikes and shelling during the night.

Israel launched its attack on Gaza after a wave of cross-border raids by Hamas on October 7, killing more than 1,200 people, the majority of them civilians, according to Israeli authorities.

The Hamas-run government says the death toll as a result of Israeli aerial bombardments and ground operations in the Palestinian territories has reached 13,000, including thousands of children.

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