Hamas announced on Friday the death of 24 patients due to a lack of electricity at Gaza’s al-Chifa hospital, where the Israeli army continues its search for caches of the Palestinian Islamist movement.
Israel had earlier agreed to allow two fuel trucks a day into the besieged Gaza Strip, where gasoline shortages have destroyed many hospitals, cut off electricity and halted humanitarian aid deliveries, threatening the population with “inani” according to the UN. .
These two truckloads per day, however, represent only a very small fraction of the amounts of gasoline, or 50 trucks, that entered the Gaza Strip each day before the start of the war between Israel and Hamas on October 7. according to the UN agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).
At al-Chifa hospital, the largest in the territory where the Israeli army launched an incursion on Wednesday after several days of fighting in the surrounding area, the situation is “catastrophic” for patients, displaced people and caregivers who they are there without electricity “no water and no food”, its director, Dr Mohammed Abou Salmiya, told AFP.
According to the UN, there are currently 2,300 people in hospital.
The army told AFP it was continuing excavations at the huge housing complex, which it said was a specially installed Hamas lair in a network of tunnels dug into its basement, which the Islamist movement denies.
Israel has vowed to “annihilate” Hamas, which seized power in the Gaza Strip in 2007, since the attack it launched on Israeli soil on October 7.
This attack, of unprecedented violence and scale since Israel’s creation in 1948, left 1,200 dead, the vast majority civilians, according to Israeli authorities.
According to the army, 51 Israeli soldiers were killed during the fighting in the Palestinian territory.
In the Gaza Strip, incessant Israeli bombardment carried out in retaliation for the attack left 11,500 dead, mostly civilians, including 4,710 children, according to the Hamas Health Ministry.
Parallel to its attacks, Israel has been carrying out ground operations since October 27, mainly concentrated in the north of the territory, where Gaza City has been transformed into a field of ruins, and around the hospitals, accusing Hamas of using them as bases and using the sick as “human shields”.
Hamas Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidreh told AFP on Friday that “24 patients” had died “in the last 48 hours” at al-Chifa hospital, “because the team “life-saving medical equipment stopped working.” due to power outages” due to lack of fuel to power the generators.
For weeks, the UN has been calling for the massive delivery of fuel to the Gaza Strip, in particular to allow hospitals to function and trucks carrying humanitarian aid to run.
Since October 9, Israel has placed the territory under “total siege”, which has cut off deliveries of food, water, electricity and medicine.
Israel has so far refused to let the fuel through, saying it could benefit the military activities of Hamas, which is classified as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union and Israel.
In response to a request from the United States, Israel’s key ally in this conflict, the Israeli War Cabinet announced that it had authorized the daily entry of two tankers “for the needs of the UN”.
Unrwa also announced on Friday that it could no longer coordinate the distribution of aid due to the cut in communications, again due to a lack of fuel to power the generators.
Hamas’ health ministry said on Thursday that 24 of the territory’s 35 hospitals had stopped working and the other nine were partially operational.
According to the UN, 1.65 of the 2.4 million residents of the Gaza Strip have been displaced by the war. Most fled south with the bare minimum and survived the cold.
According to Unrwa, 70 percent of the population does not have access to drinking water in the south of the territory, where sewers have begun to spill out into the streets.
In Deir al-Balah, in the center of the Gaza Strip, a group of injured children waited in ambulances to be evacuated via Egypt to the United Arab Emirates, according to AFP images.
“At first they told us she was going to die. She has fractures to her skull, pelvis and thigh,” said Adam al-Madhoun, the father of four-year-old Kenza, whose right hand had already been amputated after an attack on the Jabaliya refugee camp.
“With the arrival of winter, precarious and overcrowded shelters, as well as a lack of clean water, civilians face an immediate risk of starvation,” the World Food Program (WFP) warned on Thursday of the United Nations.
On Friday, the army announced that it had found the remains of Noa Marciano, a 19-year-old soldier and Hamas hostage, while searching a building adjacent to Al-Chifa hospital. The Islamist movement claimed on Monday that she had been killed in Israeli airstrikes.
On Thursday evening, the body of another hostage, Yehudit Weiss, was discovered near the hospital. The 65-year-old woman was “killed by terrorists in the Gaza Strip,” according to the military, after being kidnapped by Hamas on October 7 in the Be’eri kibbutz in southern Israel.
The army estimates that around 240 hostages, civilians and soldiers, were taken to Gaza on the day of the Hamas attack.
In Israel, pressure is mounting on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to release him, while talks are ongoing through the mediation of Qatar. A march of relatives of the hostages who left Tel Aviv on Tuesday to demand an agreement on their release is due to arrive in Jerusalem on Friday.
For Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Choukri, who says he is “in contact with Hamas, with other international stakeholders and with Israel,” the negotiations are “very delicate.”
Israel has so far rejected any ceasefire without the prior release of the hostages. But for the exiled leader of Hamas, Ismaïl Haniyeh, Israel “has not achieved any of its goals” and will only achieve “the release of its prisoners at the price that will mark the resistance”.
Tensions are also high in the occupied West Bank. The Israeli army announced on Friday that it had killed “five terrorists” in Jenin, a stronghold of Palestinian armed movements.
An AFP team at the scene reported a major Israeli operation overnight. Hamas claimed responsibility for an attack on a security checkpoint near Jerusalem on Thursday, in which one Israeli soldier was killed and three others were wounded.
In Hebron, two Palestinians were killed by “bullets from the Israeli army,” according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.