More than 7,000 people, including patients in critical condition, reside in the hospital, which has been besieged by Israeli forces for days.
Medical sources inside the hospital told Al Jazeera that Israeli forces ordered doctors, patients and displaced people at Shifa Hospital in Gaza to evacuate the medical complex, forcing some to leave at gunpoint.
But in A Share on X On Saturday, the Israeli army spokesman denied that anyone was being forced to leave, saying that “the IDF responded to the request of the director of Al-Shifa Hospital to allow Gazan citizens who are taking shelter in the hospital and who wish to evacuate from Al-Shifa Hospital towards the humanitarian crossing.” In the Gaza Strip through a secure axis.”
Muhammad Zaqout, General Director of Gaza Hospitals, confirmed to Al Jazeera: “I categorically deny these false allegations [from the Israeli army] …I’m telling you we were forced to leave at gunpoint.”
More than 7,000 people, including critically ill patients and newborns fighting for their lives, have been housed inside Al Shifa Hospital. The facility was besieged by Israeli soldiers for several days.
A Shifa doctor told Al Jazeera that at around 9 a.m. local time (7:00 GMT), they received an order from the Israelis to leave within “one hour,” but that it was “impossible” to evacuate everyone.
Al Jazeera’s Youmna Al-Sayed said in a report from Khan Yunis, south of Gaza, that the situation had caused “a great state of panic and fear” in the hospital. “They don’t have any ambulances to transport patients and premature babies to the south [of Gaza]”.
Those in Shifa include at least 300 patients, some or most of whom are in serious or critical condition, in addition to thousands of displaced families.
Al-Sayed added that the number also includes “at least 35 premature babies who have been outside incubators for eight days due to lack of oxygen and lack of electricity.” There were 39 children left without foster care; Our correspondent added that four died late on Friday and five are now in serious condition.
“There is no transportation in Gaza City and the north due to the lack of fuel. So it is expected that people will be evacuated on foot. Doctors tell us that it is impossible to evacuate with this many people on foot. Doctors also do not want to abandon their patients,” she added.
After the deadline set by the Israeli army expired on Saturday morning, Omar Zaqout, the hospital’s supervisor, told Al Jazeera that forced evacuations had begun, adding that the scenes outside the facility were “horrific.”
“We were told to leave via Al Wahda Road,” he added. Dozens of bodies were scattered on the road. “Many homeless people who cannot walk are left out in the open.”
Munir Al-Bursh, a doctor at Al-Shifa Hospital, said that the Israeli army warned all those leaving against waving a white handkerchief and walking in one row.
“They were insulted by the soldiers along the way,” Al-Barsh told Al Jazeera.
“Many patients were placed in wheelchairs or movable beds. Family members were forced to carry their injured children or parents themselves… These are horrific and unprecedented scenes,” he added.
The doctors said that the Israeli army ordered people to evacuate via Al-Rashid Street, not the usual street or route that people evacuated to the south are supposed to take – Salah Al-Din Street.
Al-Sayed said that the army did not provide the evacuees with any means of transportation, any fuel for ambulances, or any vehicles to transport patients, premature babies, and displaced families.
The hospital also remained without food, water, electricity and oxygen for at least a week, while Israeli troops and tanks raided the facility over the past two days.
Israel claimed that Hamas had a command center under the hospital, but found no evidence to support its claim. Hamas and hospital workers have long rejected Israeli assertions.
Zaqout added that the lack of water in Shifa led to what he called “the absence of cleanliness and hygiene.”
“The electricity has been out for more than three weeks. Infants and newborns are left without oxygen. It is nothing but a medieval cave,” he said.
The Palestinian Authority, which governs the occupied West Bank, issued a statement in response to the evacuations.
She added, “The evacuation of Al-Shifa camp deepens the humanitarian and environmental catastrophe facing Gaza.” He added that Israel’s actions represent “another heinous face of the crimes of ethnic cleansing and genocide committed by the occupation forces against the Palestinians.”
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