Rafah's Kuwaiti hospital closes after two staff members killed

Medical workers and patients remain besieged in the Tal Al Sultan clinic and Indonesian Hospital amid heavy shelling

The bodies of those killed during an Israeli strike on a camp for displaced Palestinians have been taken to the Tal Al Sultan clinic in Rafah. Bloomberg
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One of Rafah's last remaining operational hospitals said it was forced to shut down on Tuesday after heavy Israeli bombardment of the city and the death of two staff members in overnight strikes.

At least two people were killed and five were injured in an Israeli attack on the complex, said hospital director Dr Suhaib Al Hams.

Kuwait Specialised Hospital is “withdrawing from service” while patients and medical staff are being transferred to a field hospital in the so-called safe zone of Al Mawasi, where hundreds of thousands are taking shelter, Dr Al Hams said. “The situation is very critical and very difficult,” he told The National.

A video shared by the Palestinian Awdeh TV channel showed the bodies of two men lying near the hospital after the strike. Their clothes were covered in blood and one of them was missing an arm. Footage showed the bodies being taken to the hospital on orange stretchers as men shouted “may God have mercy on your soul”.

The attack is the latest Israeli strike on the city of Rafah,in southern Gaza. Overnight bombardments on western Rafah killed at least 25 people, the majority of whom were women and children, Rafah's civil defence agency official Mohammad Al Mughayyir told The National.

In Rafah's west, medical workers and patients remain besieged in the Tal Al Sultan clinic and the Indonesian Hospital due to heavy shelling nearby.

Gaza's health authorities said Israel continued its “expansion” and incursion into Rafah, “deliberately targeting hospitals and primary care centres”.

People are finding it difficult to reach much-needed medical assistance, it said. Abu Youssef Al Najjar Hospital, Abu Al Walid Central Clinic, the Rafah field hospital and Kuwaiti Specialised Hospitals are no longer in service as a result, authorities said.

Tal Al Sultan Maternity Hospital is the last functioning hospital in Rafah. But it is “struggling to stay open and continuing to provide services to patients in Rafah”, authorities added.

The Israeli attack on the hospital came less than 30 hours after strikes killed more than 45 people on Monday, as fires swept through the encampments they were sheltering in. Many of the casualties were women and children, sparking international outcry at the Israeli attack.

More than 36,000 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed since October 7 and thousands more remain under the rubble. More than 81,000 people have been wounded in the enclave.

The war began after a Hamas-led attack killed about 1,200 people in Israel.

Updated: May 28, 2024, 1:42 PM