More than 7,000 people, including patients in critical condition, were housed in the hospital, which was besieged by Israeli forces for days.
Medical sources told Al Jazeera that Israeli forces ordered doctors, patients and displaced people at Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza to evacuate the medical complex, and forced some to leave at gunpoint.
Doctors said the facility, which had been under siege by Israeli forces for several days, was now largely deserted hours after soldiers ordered people to leave on Saturday.
But in A Share on XThe Israeli army spokesman denied giving any order, saying, “The IDF responded to the request of the director of Al-Shifa Hospital to allow the citizens of Gaza who are taking shelter in the hospital and who wish to evacuate from Al-Shifa Hospital towards the humanitarian crossing in the Gaza Strip.” Via a secure axis.”
Muhammad Zaqout, General Director of Gaza Hospitals, confirmed to Al Jazeera: “I categorically deny these false allegations [from the Israeli army] …I’m telling you we were forced to leave at gunpoint.”
More than 7,000 people, including critically ill patients and newborns fighting for their lives, have been housed inside Al Shifa Hospital.
A doctor at the hospital told Al Jazeera that at around 9 a.m. local time (7:00 GMT), they received an order from the Israelis to leave within “one hour,” but that it was “impossible” to evacuate everyone because they had not done so. They have ambulances or transportation to transport patients.
Al Jazeera’s Youmna Al-Sayed said in a report from Khan Yunis, south of Gaza, that the situation had caused “a great state of panic and fear” in the hospital.
Many people left on foot. Muhammad Abu Salamiya, director of Al-Shifa Hospital, told Al Jazeera that “patients who cannot move, amputees, and those in critical conditions” were forced to stay with a small number of medical staff. “The situation is really tragic,” he said, adding that the facility was largely deserted.
Among those in Shifa are at least 300 patients, many of whom are in critical condition, in addition to thousands of displaced families.
Al-Sayed added that the number also includes “at least 35 premature babies who have been outside incubators for eight days due to lack of oxygen and lack of electricity.” There were 39 children left without foster care; Our correspondent added that four died late on Friday and five are now in serious condition.
After the deadline set by the Israeli army passed on Saturday morning, Omar Zaqout, the hospital’s supervisor, told Al Jazeera that forced evacuations had begun, adding that the scenes outside the facility were “horrific.”
“We were told to leave via Al Wahda Road,” he added. Dozens of bodies were scattered on the road. “Many homeless people who cannot walk are left out in the open.”
Munir Al-Bursh, a doctor at Al-Shifa Hospital, said that the Israeli army warned all those leaving against waving a white handkerchief and walking in one row.
“They were insulted by the soldiers along the way,” Al-Barsh told Al Jazeera.
“Many patients were placed in wheelchairs or movable beds. Family members were forced to carry their injured children or parents themselves… These are horrific and unprecedented scenes,” he added.
The doctors said that the Israeli army ordered people to evacuate via Al-Rashid Street, not the usual street or route that people evacuated to the south are supposed to take – Salah Al-Din Street.
“There is no transportation in Gaza City and the north due to the fuel shortage. So it is expected that people will be evacuated on foot,” Al-Sayed said.
She said that the Israeli army did not provide the evacuees with any means of transportation, any fuel for ambulances, or any vehicles to transport patients, premature babies, and displaced families.
The hospital has been without food, water, electricity and oxygen for at least a week, while Israeli troops and tanks have raided the facility over the past two days.
Israel claimed that Hamas had a command center under the hospital, but found no evidence to support its claim. Hamas and hospital workers have long rejected Israeli assertions.
Zaqout added that the lack of water in Shifa led to what he called “the absence of cleanliness and hygiene.”
“The electricity has been out for more than three weeks. Infants and newborns are left without oxygen. It is nothing but a medieval cave,” he said.
The Palestinian Authority, which governs the occupied West Bank, issued a statement in response to the evacuations.
She added, “The evacuation of Al-Shifa camp deepens the humanitarian and environmental catastrophe facing Gaza.” He added that Israel’s actions represent “another heinous face of the crimes of ethnic cleansing and genocide committed by the occupation forces against the Palestinians.”
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