Spain, Norway and Ireland Recognize a Palestinian State: Israel-Gaza War Live Updates

Surrounded by the sound of bombs, with terrified patients huddled far from windows, fuel running low and clean water gone, the acting director of Al Awda Hospital, one of the last hospitals in northern Gaza, said he was grappling with a grim sense of déjà vu.

“Nobody can move, nobody can be close to the windows,” said Dr. Mohammad Salha, the acting director. During an 18-day siege at Al Awda in December, three medical workers were shot and killed through the windows.

Since Sunday, about 150 people — including doctors, injured patients and infants, two of them born just days ago — have been trapped inside Al Awda, Dr. Salha said, amid a renewed Israeli offensive in the north.

The hospital was effectively besieged by Israeli forces, Dr. Salha said in a phone interview and voice messages. People inside the hospital are unable to leave, outside help cannot reach them and ambulances cannot respond to calls to bring in the injured.

Doctors Without Borders, which has staff members in the area, reported that the hospital was surrounded by tanks on Monday. An emergency medical team deployed at the hospital by the World Health Organization was forced to relocate on May 13 because of “intensified hostilities,” the head of the organization, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said on social media on Tuesday, in an appeal for the protection of the remaining patients and staff.

The Israeli military declined to comment on its military operations around Al Awda.

Damaged medical supplies in Al Awda Hospital, in March, in a video still from the World Health Organization.Credit…World Health Organization, via Reuters

The dire conditions at the hospital are part of a pattern that has played out repeatedly across the Gaza Strip over more than seven months of war. Israeli forces have surrounded and raided hospital after hospital, claiming they are being used by Hamas fighters. Israeli soldiers have returned to raid some hospitals a second time in response to what the military said was a resurgent Hamas presence.

In December, Israeli forces surrounded Al Awda Hospital for nearly two weeks, then sent troops inside, killing several people and detaining others for interrogation, according to Doctors Without Borders, whose staff members were among those detained.

The hospital’s director, Dr. Ahmed Muhanna, was one of those taken into Israeli custody and his whereabouts remain unknown, according to ActionAid, a nongovernmental organization that supports the hospital. Dr. Salha has since been leading the hospital staff in his place.

The former head of orthopedics at Al-Shifa Hospital, Dr. Adnan Ahmad Albursh, was also detained in December at Al Awda, where he had been working. He died in Israeli custody, Palestinian officials and rights groups said earlier this month.

With no one able to enter or exit Al Awda, the doctors and patients have gathered in interior rooms and corridors in an effort to protect themselves from gunfire and shelling that is hitting the exterior walls, Dr. Salha said.

He said four infants were among those trapped at the hospital — two were delivered by C-section on May 18, and two others are the children of nurses at the hospital.

On Monday, there were roughly three days of fuel left and no clean water, Dr. Salha said. The people trapped inside are “very afraid,” he said.


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Video obtained by Reuters shows people rushing out of Kamal Adwan Hospital, some on beds and gurneys. The hospital’s director said that missiles hit the entrance to the emergency department.CreditCredit…Osama Abu Rabee/Reuters

The only other major hospital that was still partially functioning in the north, Kamal Adwan, was struck several times on Tuesday, according to witnesses, Gaza health officials and the W.H.O. The Israeli military did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the strikes.

Like Al Awda, Kamal Adwan was raided by Israeli forces in December, and it has since become a critical facility for treating malnourished children in the north.

Footage from Reuters showed people evacuating the area around the hospital on Tuesday, some wearing white medical coats and others being wheeled out on gurneys. The hospital director, Dr. Hussam Abu Safiya, told the news agency that after the entrance to the emergency department was bombed, missiles kept coming, preventing medics from reaching the victims.

“The situation is catastrophic,” he said.

Ameera Harouda contributed reporting.

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