Voices in the Dark: Al-Shifa Hospital’s Anguish Amidst the Ravages of Conflict

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In Gaza, the largest hospital, Al-Shifa, is grappling with an escalating humanitarian crisis due to the continuing Israeli assault on the Hamas-controlled territory. The situation has rendered the hospital inoperable, leaving it unable to provide necessary medical care to victims of the conflict.

According to a CNN report, the director of Al-Shifa Hospital expressed the severity of the situation, stating, “The operating rooms are completely out of service, and now the wounded come to us, and we cannot give them anything other than first aid.” A lack of electricity has left the hospital’s operating rooms nonfunctional, compounding the challenges faced by those in need of medical attention.

Israeli authorities assert that Hamas militants, responsible for a deadly attack in southern Israel on October 7, have established command centers near hospitals, including Al-Shifa. Hospital authorities describe the circumstances as “dire and perilous,” with constant gunfire and bombings worsening an already critical situation.

The conflict erupted following the October 7th attack, where about 1,200 Israelis were reportedly killed by militants. The encirclement of Al-Shifa Hospital by Israeli forces has led to global protests. Supporters of Israel, including the United States, argue that a ceasefire might allow Hamas to regroup and launch additional attacks.

Despite calls from the White House for the release of hostages held by Hamas, the situation at Al-Shifa remains grim. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) claim to have delivered 300 liters of fuel to the hospital for urgent medical purposes but allege that Hamas prevented the hospital from accepting it.

Hamas denies refusing the fuel, stating that the hospital falls under the authority of Gaza’s Health Ministry. They argue that the amount of fuel offered by Israel was “not enough to operate the (hospital’s) generators for more than half an hour,” contributing to the ongoing power crisis.

Reports from Reuters indicate that 45 babies in incubators at Al-Shifa face a precarious situation. Three babies have already died in the neonatal unit due to the hospital going “out of service” following a ground offensive by Israel in Gaza. A plastic surgeon at Al-Shifa revealed that the bombing of the building housing incubators forced them to improvise, lining up premature babies on ordinary beds and using the limited power available to warm the environment.

As the conflict persists, Dr. Ahmed El Mokhallalati expressed concern, stating, “We are expecting to lose more of them day by day.” The unfolding crisis at Al-Shifa Hospital underscores the urgent need for international attention and intervention to address the escalating humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza.

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