Doctors Without Borders (MSF) reported on Sunday a loss of communication with its team within Al-Shifa Hospital in northern Gaza. The organization, renewing appeals for an urgent ceasefire, voiced worries for critical patients and displaced civilians confined within the facility.
The humanitarian organization warned of hostilities around the Al-Shifa Hospital, citing MSF colleagues in Gaza city.
“We are worried for their lives,” it said on Sunday.
MSF staff members said there are “dead people on the streets,” shot and injured, but the organization has been unable to help them because it is “too dangerous to go outside.”
The organization on Sunday renewed its call for a ceasefire, emphasizing the protection of civilians and patients who have been trapped inside the medical facility that has become the focal point in the ongoing Hamas-Israel war.
“We call for a cessation of attacks on hospitals, for an immediate ceasefire, and safe passage for those who wish to leave hospitals,” MSF said.
On Monday, hundreds of patients were reportedly trapped and thousands sought shelter in and around Gaza’s largest hospital, as Israeli troops surrounded the facility.
Citing witnesses, AFP reported on Sunday “violent fighting” raging throughout the night as Israeli forces confronted Hamas militants.
The sounds of small arms fire and aerial bombardments were echoing across the sprawling hospital complex, amid reports that the infirm – including children – were dying for lack of basic provisions, the news agency reported.
A total of five premature babies and seven critical patients have died in Gaza’s Al-Shifa hospital, a Hamas official said Sunday, as the facility suffers fuel shortages amid intense fighting between Israeli troops and Hamas militants.
Israel says Hamas has placed command centres under and near hospitals and it needs to get at them to free around 200 hostages the militants took in Israel in an attack just over a month ago. Hamas has denied using hospitals in this way.
Israel’s indiscriminate bombing campaign has so far killed at least 11,180 Palestinians in Gaza, including 4,609 children, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.
Israel declared a complete siege on Gaza following Hamas’ deadly October 7 attack that Israel says killed 1,400 people and saw more than 200 taken hostage.
International human rights organizations have described Israel’s attacks on Gaza as “collective punishment,” which is considered war crime under international law.