‘Please Help Us’ – Palestine Chronicle Speaks to Two Palestinians Inside Besieged Al-Shifa Hospital

Israeli tanks surrounding the Al-Shifa Medical Complex in Gaza City. (Photo: via WAFA)

By Abdallah Aljamal – Gaza

The Palestine Chronicle spoke with two eyewitnesses, who are still trapped inside the hospital when Israeli forces raided the building. 

Many Palestinians were killed and wounded as a result of the attack carried out on Monday morning by Israeli occupation forces on the Al-Shifa Medical Complex in Gaza City. 

Daniel Hagari, the spokesman of the Israeli army, said early on Monday that Israeli occupation forces were “conducting a high-precision operation in limited areas of Shifa hospital based on (…) intelligence information indicating the use of the hospital by senior Hamas terrorists to command attacks”.

Hours later, the Israeli army stormed the largest hospital in the Strip, took control of the complex and detained at least 80 people, including journalists.

Israeli occupation forces also besieged two schools in the vicinity of the medical complex.

The Palestine Chronicle spoke with two eyewitnesses, who are still trapped inside the hospital when Israeli forces raided the building. 

For security reasons, we will use their initials instead of their full name, in order to keep their identity private.

Just before Suhoor

“Just before our suhoor meal (just before dawn – PC), we were surprised by the incursion of Israeli special forces into the Al-Shifa Medical Complex in Gaza City, amid heavy gunfire,” H.S., one of the Palestinians who were besieged inside the hospital, told The Palestine Chronicle. 

“The quadcopter drones surrounded the compound, firing at anyone attempting to leave,” he added.

H.S., who preferred not to disclose his full name for fear of reprisal from the occupation forces, continued: “We were taken aback by the fact that Israel decided to storm Al-Shifa for the second time.”

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The medical compound is currently hosting thousands of displaced Palestinians, including children, women, elderly, in addition to hundreds of patients.

“None of us could leave the place, so we all sought refuge inside the building. The place was extremely crowded, we heard children’s cries echoing, relentlessly. Fear was paralyzing, and the sounds of shelling and gunfire continued for hours.” 

As the news spread regarding the storming of Al-Shifa, people in Gaza started worrying about the fate of their relatives, trapped inside the hospital. 

“Our families called repeatedly to check on us, but we were in an extremely difficult situation,” H.S. explained. 

“The chances of being killed, injured or arrested were very high”.

“They (the Israeli army – PC) demolished the tents of Palestinian journalists and they detained a large number of them. All those arrested were stripped of their clothes, handcuffed, blindfolded, and placed in a room inside the complex for several hours,” the eyewitness said.  

“My house was bombed earlier. That’s why I decided to evacuate with my family to the Al-Shifa Complex because we thought that the Israeli army had concluded its military operations there, but this morning, we were surprised by its return”.

My Injured Daughter

M.S. is another eyewitness to the Israeli army raid at the Al-Shifa Medical Complex. On Monday morning, he went to the hospital to get some medication for his injured daughter.

He explained to us that the only reason why he could not reveal his full name is that he is the only provider in his family at the moment.

“I am the father of three martyrs, while both my daughter and I were injured by an Israeli bombing that targeted our home, in a residential area in Gaza City,” M.S. told us. 

“My daughter’s foot was amputated, and she suffers from severe malnutrition due to the lack of proper medication and treatment,” he said. 

“On Sunday night, I went to Al-Shifa Medical Complex to get some medications and medical supplies for my wounded daughter. However, following the intensification of the shelling around the compound, I couldn’t return home, so I was forced to stay overnight.”

M.S. told us that, like all other displaced Palestinians, he was just looking for some medicine, some food for suhoor and some water to drink before the Fajr prayer. 

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“But the occupation forces surprised us,” he said. “I went there to get medical supplies for my daughter, but now I am trapped with thousands of people inside the complex, surrounded by death, Israeli shelling, and destruction from all sides.”

M.S. told us that there is no food or water, and that Israeli bulldozers keep destroying everything in the vicinity of the hospital’s main building. 

“We only wish for their withdrawal so that we can leave the complex. There is no safe place in Gaza. We call for urgent intervention to rescue the displaced, the wounded, and the medical staff trapped inside the complex.”

(The Palestine Chronicle)

Abdallah Aljamal is a Gaza-based journalist. He is a contributor for The Palestine Chronicle from the Gaza Strip. His email is abdallahaljamal1987@gmail.com

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