Fierce fighting between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants in Gaza City has prompted the evacuation of the territory’s central hospital, located near the front lines of the escalating conflict. Al-Aqsa Hospital has been plunged into chaos as staff and patients flee for their lives.
Hospital Abandoned as Fighting Draws Near
As explosions rocked Gaza City on Monday morning, doctors and patients at Al-Aqsa Hospital scrambled to evacuate the building. Located just hundreds of yards from ongoing clashes, the facility could no longer guarantee safety amid the bombardment.
“We are extremely worried about the safety and health of all patients and health staff,” said WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in a statement. Sources say over 600 hospitalized patients have been hastily discharged or moved to other facilities further south. Their current whereabouts and condition is unknown.
“They told us we had to evacuate because the hospital was no longer safe,” said 28-year-old Rania Abu Draz, recovering from shrapnel injuries sustained in an earlier air strike. “I couldn’t even walk properly but they said I had to go.”
Medical Teams Withdraw as Conditions Deteriorate
International aid groups have been forced to halt critical medical relief efforts in Gaza as the security situation rapidly deteriorates. A WHO convoy carrying essential supplies was blocked from entering northern Gaza due to heavy combat ongoing in the area.
“The inability of WHO and partners to deliver lifesaving medical supplies to hospitals and trauma centers will only increase the very real suffering of civilians caught up in this indiscriminate conflict,” said UN Humanitarian Coordinator Lynn Hastings.
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) also made the difficult decision to evacuate all international staff from Al-Aqsa Hospital in central Gaza. The medical charity cited extreme concerns over the safety of their team as well as patients and bystanders.
Reports indicate only 5 doctors now remain at the beleaguered Gaza City hospital to care for any patients unable to be moved. With much of the enclave’s medical infrastructure destroyed, Al-Aqsa had been serving hundreds seeking urgent treatment.
|Medical Infrastructure Damage in Gaza
|17 hospitals & clinics damaged
|Primary healthcare capacity down 50%
|Over 600 attacks on health facilities
“Gaza’s healthcare system is on the verge of collapse as casualties mount. Hospitals are overwhelmed with wounded and rapidly running out of supplies,” said ICRC President Mirjana Spoljaric.
Israel Pledges to Avoid Civilian Casualties
As condemnation mounts over Gazan civilian casualties, Israel maintains that avoiding collateral damage is a high priority. PM Yair Lapid expressed sympathy for those harmed but said the IDF has no choice but to continue operations.
“We are doing everything we can to strike at terrorists while avoiding harm to non-combatants,” Lapid said in a statement. “But Hamas bears responsibility for embedding forces and weapons in civilian areas.”
Palestinian officials counter that Gaza’s small size and dense urban footprint make separating military and civilian infrastructure virtually impossible. Rights groups warn the mounting death toll signals indiscriminate attacks on non-military sites.
International Community Calls for Ceasefire
With peace talks going nowhere, pressure is rising for an immediate ceasefire agreement before Gaza’s health system fully implodes. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has arrived in Tel Aviv to push Israeli leadership to wind down hostilities.
However, experts say a diplomatic solution remains unlikely with both sides demanding concessions. Israel continues mass arrest raids in the West Bank while militants launch daily rocket barrages, signaling neither is ready to back down.
Most expect the fighting to grind on, bringing more death and chaos to the streets of Gaza. The terrified families fleeing Al-Aqsa Hospital know their struggles are far from over. As long as the bombs keep falling, nowhere in Gaza feels safe.
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