Northern Gaza hungry for aid as hospitals cut off by shelling

Israeli forces have been targeting any movement near Al Quds Hospital, Palestinian Red Crescent says

An injured woman speaks on the phone at Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis, following Israeli air strikes in the besieged southern Gaza Strip. EPA
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Northern Gaza has been cut off from life-saving medical aid, food and water, as convoys from the Rafah crossing on the border with Egypt are being targeted by Israeli strikes, the Palestinian Red Crescent and other aid groups warned on Wednesday.

Israeli tanks and armoured vehicles have become an increasingly common sight in the north, while snipers are taking positions near homes in Al Karama in Gaza's north-west, The National's correspondent has reported.

The war turned into urban warfare last week, as the army attempted to split the besieged strip in two, while focusing on targeting Hamas locations in the north and encircling Gaza city.

The northern Al Quds Hospital, which has not received any aid since the war with Israel began on October 7, despite relief lorries began moving into Gaza through Rafah on October 21, is now completely "cut-off from the outside world", the PRC said.

"The three roads leading to the hospital were destroyed by shelling," PRC spokeswoman Nibal Farsakh told The National. "A dirt road was being used as an alternative. That, too, has been struck.

"The hospital, its staff, the injured and the thousands of displaced people seeking shelter there are without bread. And even when the shelling, gunfire and air strikes die down, they can't move because the roads are damaged."

Shelling around Al Quds has been constant for days. PRC director general Marwan Jilani said staff there were able to "see but not reach" people lying injured only metres away during the bombardment.

Anyone moving outside the hospital is at risk of being hit by the shelling, he told a press conference from Ramallah on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, a convoy of five lorries and two International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) vehicles were hit while attempting to reach the PRC-run Al Quds Hospital.

The ICRC reported that two of the lorries were damaged and one driver was wounded.

The convoy then changed route and headed to Gaza's largest hospital, Al Shifa, where it delivered supplies, the ICRC added. This was the first time Al Shifa had received any aid, the PRC confirmed to The National.

There is a total lack of care for Palestinian lives, especially by western nations. It's as if they are worth less, or don't matter as much as the lives of others
PRC director general Marwan Jilani

"There was shelling in [Gaza's] Tal El Hawa nearby," said Mr Jilani. "The medical crew told us there are injuries in parallel roads to Al Quds Hospital, some 200 to 300 metres away.

"They could see them but couldn't reach them to rescue them, because anyone moving outside Al Quds Hospital was being targeted directly.

"Nothing has reached Al Quds and the Indonesian Hospital or UN schools doubling as shelters in the north."

Video shared by the PRC on Wednesday shows damage to Al Quds, including broken windows, destroyed surrounding roads and chaos spreading among people taking shelter and seeking treatment inside.

لاضرار الناجمة عن استهدف الاحتلال الإسرائيلي لمحيط مستشفى القدس

💢 فيديو يظهر الاضرار الناجمة عن استهدف الاحتلال الإسرائيلي لمحيط مستشفى القدس التابع للجمعية لعدة مرات خلال الفترة الماضية، وذلك بعد تهديداته بقصف المستشفى ومطالباته بالإخلاء، تسبب هذا القصف العنيف في أضرار عديدة للمبنى وإصابة عشرات النازحين والمرضى. #غزة #لست_هدفا #غزة_تحت_القصف

Posted by ‎Palestine Red Crescent society الهلال الاحمر الفلسطيني‎ on Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Mr Jilani said medical staff at Al Shifa had been ordered to evacuate several times but say they cannot leave behind children in incubators or people in need of intensive care.

"For medical crew and for us as officials who are responsible for the lives of our colleagues, this is a nightmare that we live every day, calling our colleagues in Gaza [to see if they are alive]"," he said.

"There is a total lack of care for Palestinian lives, especially by western nations. It's as if they are worth less, or don't matter as much as the lives of others."

Israel has killed more than 10,500 people in Gaza, including at least 4,300 children.

Updated: November 08, 2023, 2:03 PM