Patients die at Nasser Hospital in Gaza as oxygen runs out under Israeli siege

Two women gave birth in extreme conditions with no water, food or heating

Chaotic scenes inside Nasser Hospital. Reuters
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Four patients in the intensive care unit at Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis have died after oxygen ran out, the Gaza health ministry said on Friday.

The hospital is without power, as Israel intensifies its siege on the medical complex.

Two women gave birth under "inhumane and extreme" conditions with no water, food or heating in the complex's oldest building where thousands had gathered under Israeli orders, the ministry said.

General surgeon Dr Khaled Serr who works at the hospital shared a photo of one of the newborns.

"Despite the madness of the Israeli army and the invasion of our hospital by soldiers we welcomed two babies last night," his post said. "May Allah protect them and their moms."

More than 10,000 displaced people had sought shelter in the hospital, including hundreds of patients and their family members, before they were all forced to leave the premises with the exception of patients and medical staff.

Israeli troops stormed the hospital this week. The military has accused Hamas of using medical centres in the enclave for military purposes.

The assault began on Thursday, a week after troops began a siege of the hospital, with hundreds of patients and staff members trapped inside as supplies of food and water dwindled.

The Israeli military said it aimed to recover the remains of hostages taken by Hamas during the October 7 attacks on southern Israel. Thousands of displaced people who had taken shelter at the hospital were ordered to leave.

The ministry said it held Israel responsible for the lives of patients and staff because the hospital was "now under its full control".

Ministry spokesman Dr Ashraf Al Qudra said the Israeli army stormed the hospital and turned it into a "military site" after demolishing the southern wall.

The army destroyed an ambulance garage, tents used by displaced people and mass graves in the complex, he said.

Israel has focused its ground operations on southern Gaza and US President Joe Biden called on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to ensure there was a "credible and executable plan for ensuring the safety of and support for civilians" before launching an assault on the city of Rafah, near the border with Egypt, the White House said in a statement.

The US is working on a plan with Egypt and Qatar to secure a ceasefire agreement in Gaza that includes the return of about 100 hostages held by Hamas. Mr Netanyahu has played down the chances of a deal being struck.

“The president reaffirmed his commitment to working tirelessly to support the release of all hostages as soon as possible, recognising their appalling situation after 132 days in Hamas captivity,” the White House said.

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