Gaza hospital officials missing after being summoned by Israeli forces

Red Crescent says staff of Al Amal Hospital in Khan Younis were called in as people began leaving when siege ended

A screengrab of medics treating a patient on the floor at Al Amal Hospital in Khan Younis, southern Gaza. Photo: Palestine Red Crescent Society
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Two officials at Al Amal Hospital in southern Gaza are missing after being “summoned” by the Israeli military on Monday, the Palestine Red Crescent Society said.

The summons came as hundreds of displaced people who sought shelter at the society's hospital and the adjacent headquarters in Khan Younis began leaving after a two-week siege by Israeli forces, the PRCS said in a post on X.

The PRCS said Dr Haidar Al Qudra, general manager of the hospital, and its administrative director, Maher Atallah, had been taken to an unknown location.

“This follows the ICRC [International Committee of the Red Cross] informing PRCS of occupation approval for a safe passage, enabling displaced individuals to leave Al Amal Hospital and PRCS headquarters towards Mawasi in Khan Younis,” it said.

Thousands of civilians have been fleeing to the coastal town of Al Mawasi, near Khan Younis, and to the city of Rafah, further south, after weeks of intense Israeli bombardment and ground fighting against Palestinian militants in the city.

People trapped at the Al Amal Hospital had begun burying victims of Israeli attacks in the hospital grounds because they were unable to leave the compound.

The death toll in Gaza from nearly four months of Israel's offensive has reached 27,478 people, with 66,835 injured, the enclave's health ministry said on Monday. About another 8,000 are missing.

Israel launched strikes and a ground offensive in Gaza after Hamas militants attacked Israeli communities on October 7, killing about 1,200 people and abducting 240.

Overnight, at least 128 people were killed in Gaza in Israeli attacks.

Israel's military bombarded Deir Al Balah in central Gaza, Khan Younis and areas leading to Rafah.

Some 1.9 million out of Gaza's 2.2 million population are now crammed into the Rafah area, the Gaza Health Ministry and the Palestinian state news agency Wafa reported.

An Israeli air strike on a home in Al Hakar neighbourhood of Deir Al Balah killed 14 people, reported the agency.

In Gaza city, Israeli soldiers set fire to homes in the Burj Al Sousi area, it added.

Israeli media reported last week that Israeli soldiers were under direct orders to raze homes they occupied.

The Israeli offensive has created a humanitarian crisis as displaced people struggle with food shortages and winter cold.

Many are reliant on food handouts from charity kitchens, queuing in wet, cold weather.

“I came to stand in line to have the chance to get some food for my children,” Soad Ali told The National as she waited at a kitchen in Deir Al Balah.

“The amount I receive is not enough for my children, but what can I do? I stand for hours to get some food that doesn't satisfy them,” she added.

The kitchen's founder, Abu Hamza Al Nabaheen, said the initiative was launched with the help of friends and has grown from employing two cooks to 15. But now he is struggling to source food because of rising prices of commodities.

The UN has said Israel is not allowing aid to flow into Gaza quickly enough.

Medical facilities across the enclave have also been devastated by the Israeli onslaught.

On Monday, the Red Crescent published a video of its medical post in Jabalia, northern Gaza, showing ambulances and the building that once housed its headquarters completely destroyed.

English follows: ‏⭕️مشاهد من الدمار الذي حل في مبنى مقر الجمعية في جباليا شمال غزة بعد ان قام الاحتلال باقتحامه قبل نحو...

Posted by ‎Palestine Red Crescent society الهلال الاحمر الفلسطيني‎ on Sunday, February 4, 2024
Updated: February 05, 2024, 3:51 PM