‘Tragic Conditions’ – Gaza’s Shifa Hospital Director Freed after Seven Months in Israeli Detention

Dr. Muhammad Abu Salmiya, Al-Shifa chief, was released after nearly 8 months in Israeli detention. (Photo: video grab)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

The Israeli occupation released the director of the Shifa Medical Complex in Gaza City, Dr. Muhammad Abu Salmiya, after nearly eight months of detention, along with a number of medical personnel who were arrested by the occupation from hospitals in the Gaza Strip.

Abu Salmiya is a prominent Palestinian pediatrician who assumed the position of medical director of Al-Nasser Hospital in 2007, then took over the management of Al-Rantisi Hospital in 2015, to later become director of the Al-Shifa Hospital in 2019 until his arrest on November 23, 2023.

Citing informed sources, Al-Jazeera reported that the Israeli army released about 50 prisoners who arrived east of the Al-Qarara area in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on Monday morning.

Tragic Conditions

In an interview with journalists after his release, Dr. Abu Salmiya spoke about the details of his arrest, the conditions of Israeli prisons and detention centers, and what the prisoners suffer inside them.

He described the prisoners’ conditions as “tragic, unprecedented in Palestinian history, with severe food shortages and physical humiliation.”

“Older prisoners are suffering greatly, including those who spent more than 20 years in prisons, and they must be released,” he added.

He stressed the urgent need for decisive action to release all prisoners from Israeli prisons.

“The Israeli occupation arrests everyone, and medical staff have died in Israeli prisons due to torture and a lack of medical care,” Dr. Abu Salmiya said.

“The enemy has demonstrated its cruelty in dealing with prisoners and medical personnel. Hundreds of medical staff have been targeted and are being tortured in occupation prisons,” he added.   

The Israeli occupation army arrested Muhammad Abu Salmiya and a number of medical personnel on November 23, 2023, after the occupation forces stormed the hospital’s emergency department, in the second month of the aggression against the Gaza Strip..

Prior to his arrest, Israeli occupation forces stormed the hospital, destroyed its facilities, bulldozed its courtyards, and completely isolated it from the world.

‘Security Negligence’

The Israeli Broadcasting Corporation reported that the release of the director of the Al-Shifa Complex, along with others who were arrested during the war in Gaza, was due to the prisons being full.

‘We Have Exhausted Every Drop of Fuel’ – Director of Al-Shifa Hospital

Israeli Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir, however, said that the release of Dr. Abu Salmiya is “security negligence.”

Ben-Gvir said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu must prevent Gallant and the head of the Shin Bet from pursuing an independent policy that conflicts with government policy.

Ongoing Genocide

Currently on trial before the International Court of Justice for genocide against Palestinians, Israel has been waging a devastating war on Gaza since October 7.  

According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, 37,900 Palestinians have been killed, and 87,060 wounded in Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza starting on October 7.

Moreover, at least 7,000 people are unaccounted for, presumed dead under the rubble of their homes throughout the Strip. 

Palestinian and international organizations say that the majority of those killed and wounded are women and children.

The Israeli war has resulted in an acute famine, mostly in northern Gaza, resulting in the death of many Palestinians, mostly children. 

GAZA LIVE BLOG: Al-Shifa Director Released | Exceptional Security Consultations | Relentless Airstrikes on Gaza – Day 269

The Israeli aggression has also resulted in the forceful displacement of nearly two million people from all over the Gaza Strip, with the vast majority of the displaced forced into the densely crowded southern city of Rafah near the border with Egypt – in what has become Palestine’s largest mass exodus since the 1948 Nakba.

Israel says that 1,200 soldiers and civilians were killed during the Al-Aqsa Flood Operation on October 7. Israeli media published reports suggesting that many Israelis were killed on that day by ‘friendly fire’. 


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