The Israeli army demands the evacuation of Shifa hospital in Gaza

Israeli army carrying out a raid on the Shifa hospital in Gaza for the fourth consecutive day have ordered its evacuation via loudspeaker “within an hour”, according to an journalist on site.

The Israeli army also called the director of the Mohammed Abou Salmiya hospital to demand “the evacuation of patients, the wounded, the displaced and the caregivers and that everyone go on foot to the coastal corniche” which borders the hospital, west of Gaza City, within an hour, this chief doctor reported to AFP.

Currently, according to the UN, 2,300 patients, caregivers and displaced people are in this establishment and international concern is growing for their fate. Israel assures that Hamas, in power in Gaza, uses this establishment as a military base.

For days, Israeli soldiers have entered the Shifa complex to question the people inside and make searches.

The hospital director had already refused this week a previous evacuation order received by telephone, citing in particular the complexity of the operation.

The electricity stopped working there several days ago and its department heads report that several dozen patients have died “because vital medical equipment stopped working due to the power outage.”

In recent days, Israeli tanks have tightened their grip on Gaza City and more particularly its hospitals, notably Shifa which it accuses Hamas of using as a military base, which the Islamist movement denies.

The Palestinian telecommunications company Paltel has announced that phone and internet services were partially working again across Gaza after fuel was delivered to restart generators that power the networks.

NetBlocks, a group tracking internet outages, confirmed that “internet connectivity is being partially restored” in the Gaza Strip.

On Thursday, Paltel announced that all communication services, including landline connection, mobile network and Internet connection, dropped due to a lack of fuel.

The next day, Israel agreed to allow two tanker trucks of fuel, equaling 60,000 litres, into Gaza each day.

A US State Department official said 10,000 litres of the daily intake will be used to power the enclave’s communications network.

Before this week, Israel had completely prohibited fuel from entering Gaza, fearing it could be commandeered by Hamas and used against them.

More than two days after Israeli soldiers stormed Shifa Hospital in northern Gaza, doctors said they were amputating limbs to avoid infection and spoke of wounds festering with maggots, while Israel’s military said it was still searching for evidence to back up its allegations that Hamas used the hospital as a command centre.

Hospital director Mohammed Abu Selmia told Al Jazeera television that 52 patients have died since fuel ran out — up from 40 reported dead before Israeli troops entered the compound on Wednesday. More patients were on the verge of death as their wounds were “open with maggots coming out of them,” another doctor, Faisal Siyam, told the Qatar-run TV network.

Abu Selmia said Israeli troops should either bring them fuel to power equipment or allow an evacuation.

The Israeli military said on Friday that it was searching the hospital for Hamas infrastructure, but acknowledged it was taking a long time and that patients in the hospital were suffering.

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