Gaza - On the morning of Monday, November 13, al-Shifa Hospital reported the tragic death of a newborn baby who was being cared for in one of the specialized incubators for premature infants. The hospital is facing a critical shortage of oxygen, and this is the third child's death announced by the hospital within just 24 hours.
These heart-breaking losses are attributed to the blockade imposed by Israeli tanks and armoured vehicles, which have surrounded the hospital. This blockade is preventing the hospital from receiving essential medical supplies and the fuel needed to power its generators.
The hospital crisis in the Gaza Strip began on October 7 when around 12 hospitals were suddenly overwhelmed with over 28,000 wounded individuals in just over a month and a half due to the Israeli war on Gaza in response to the Hamas attacks inside Israel.
This number far exceeded the capacity of all hospitals. The crisis is a result of Israel's actions, including deliberate attacks on residential buildings and homes without warning, putting the lives of their residents in danger.
The situation for hospitals worsened when Israel decided to cut off the electricity supply to the Gaza Strip on the third day of the war. This was compounded by the disruption of water services and the prevention of essential supplies, including fuel and medical necessities, from entering Gaza. As a result, hospitals have had to rely on their dwindling reserves of diesel to power generators and keep ambulances running.
With Israel continuing to enforce these restrictions, the ability of hospitals to function is at serious risk. The Ministry of Health and hospital directors have issued numerous appeals and requests for the entry of fuel and medical supplies, but only a few trucks carrying basic medical provisions have been allowed to reach hospitals in the southern Gaza Strip.
After a week of bombings and destruction, the Israeli army told people in the northern part of Gaza to move to the southern part behind Wadi Gaza, a region that stretches from the east to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. They declared the northern Gaza Strip, including Gaza City, a military zone.
The situation became more complicated two weeks later when an Israeli army spokesperson posted a video online. In the video, he claimed that leaders of Hamas and the al-Qassam Brigades, the group's military wing, were hiding in safe rooms beneath the Shifa Medical Complex, the largest in the strip. He claimed that these rooms were connected to a labyrinth of tunnels underground.
The Israeli campaign against hospitals continued, with Israel sharing more videos that cannot be independently verified. One showed Sheikh Hamad Hospital for Rehabilitation and Prosthetics northwest of Gaza City, where he said he found a tunnel entrance next to one of its buildings. Another video featured the Indonesian Hospital in the northern Gaza Strip, where he alleged that Hamas leaders had safe rooms beneath the medical structures, linked to tunnels. Hamas has repeatedly denied that it uses hospitals as military bases.