Al Amal hospital in south Gaza 'turning into a graveyard', says Red Crescent

At least 15 people have been buried in the medical centre's yard since siege began 12 days ago

A wounded Palestinian man receives medical assistance at Al Amal Hospital in Gaza, which is under a continuing siege. Reuters
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Five Palestinians were buried in the vicinity of the Palestinian Red Crescent-run Al Amal hospital in Khan Younis in the south of Gaza overnight, bringing the number buried to 15 since the start of the siege 12 days ago.

The hospital's yard "could turn into a graveyard" if the siege continues, Osama Al Kahlout who heads the operations room in the Palestinian Red Crescent's headquarters in Khan Younis, adjacent to Al Amal hospital, told The National on Friday.

The bodies of patients and displaced Palestinians have been buried there as it has become "impossible" to transport them to a cemetery, he said.

The body of a security officer killed by an Israeli strike remained outside one of the complex's gates for at least 12 hours because doctors were unable to move it, out of fear of being shot.

He was later brought in by a number of "brave men" working inside the hospital in the late hours of Thursday, Mr Al Kahlout said.

Several displaced people seeking shelter at Al Amal hospital were also wounded after a ceiling collapsed, following Israeli shelling around the hospital, Wafa reported.

The siege on Al Amal hospital also meant that a Red Crescent paramedic released by Israeli forces after 42 days of detention from an ambulance hub in the northern city of Jabalia, could not be taken there for the treatment of severe burn wounds he suffered before his arrest, The National has learnt.

Israeli air strikes on Gaza's southern city of Rafah resumed on Thursday night into the early hours of Friday, killing dozens of civilians, who have had their homes "destroyed while they were inside them" Palestinian state news agency Wafa reported.

Israeli settlers blocked the Nitzana border crossing between Egypt and Gaza to stop aid from entering, local Palestinian and Israeli outlets reported.

Rain and cold weather have exacerbated the bad conditions in makeshift displacement camps and shelters where millions of Palestinians are seeking refuge, and where water is seeping through the roof onto families huddled together to stay warm.

Fuel to make fires is almost non-existent and wood has become scarce due to Israel's ban on building materials entering the besieged Strip, according to local and international NGOs.

Returning to burnt homes

Some residents have begun returning to their homes in areas that Israeli forces have pulled out of after heavily bombing them, such as Khan Younis in the south and parts of the north.

Mohammed Khader, 33, said he was "shocked" when he found his three-storey home had been reduced to ashes in the northern Al Karama district.

Most of the houses in his neighborhood were also destroyed or partially damaged, he said, rendering the whole area unlivable.

“You almost feel like the Israeli army couldn’t take revenge on Hamas and are instead taking their vengeance out on us, the civilians," he told The National.

Mr Khader's mother, Fatima, was very emotional about the loss of their home which she said she "built every part of".

“They burned my heart. Each item has memories and bears witness to the happy and sad moments we've spent there," she told The National.

She is determined to rebuild her dream home.

"I am not going to leave Gaza."

Updated: February 02, 2024, 1:55 PM