TEL AVIV, Israel (NewsNation) — Doctors are in urgent need of help, reporting critical shortages, as Israel claims Gaza’s Al-Shifa Hospital has become the focus of a dayslong stalemate in its war against the Hamas militant group.
Doctors report shortages, including incubators and heat for premature babies. They also report the facility has run out of fuel and that patients are beginning to die.
Al-Shifa is Gaza’s largest and best-equipped hospital. Israel claims the facility also is used by Hamas for military purposes. It says Hamas has built a vast underground command complex center below the hospital, connected by tunnels, something Gaza health officials and Hamas deny.
Since Israel declared war against Hamas in response to a deadly cross-border attack by Hamas on Oct. 7, its forces have moved in on Shifa.
Amid intensified fighting, the hospital has been without electricity for three days.
Despite troops dropping fuel canisters outside the hospital, they allege that Hamas has prevented doctors from retrieving them.
The Israel Defense Forces surround the hospital as Israel has claimed for weeks that Hamas uses hospitals to launch attacks, citing findings inside another nearby hospital.
The State Department contends the hospital “should have taken the offer.”
The IDF considers the retrieval of hostages the top priority, while an IDF spokesperson indicates willingness to negotiate the release of 70 hostages in exchange for a 5-day cease-fire; however, the IDF has not confirmed the existence of such a deal.
While Israel said it is willing to allow staff and patients to evacuate, Palestinians say Israeli forces have fired at evacuees and that it is too dangerous to move the most vulnerable patients.
People trapped inside Al-Shifa Hospital are planning to start burying dead bodies within the hospital compound on Tuesday without Israeli approval because the situation has become untenable, two sources at the hospital told Reuters.
Dr. Ahmed Al Mokhallalati and Gaza health ministry spokesman Ashraf Al-Qidra said in separate telephone interviews from within the compound that more than 100 dead bodies had accumulated there, creating an acute sanitary crisis.
“We are planning to bury them today in a mass grave inside the Al-Shifa medical complex. It is going to be very dangerous as we don’t have any cover or protection from the ICRC, but we have no other options, the corpses of the martyrs began to decompose,” said Qidra.
Currently, two humanitarian corridors are open in Gaza until 4 p.m., with tactical pauses in effect.
The IDF estimates 200,000 people have fled northern Gaza in recent days, leading the IDF minister to assert that Hamas has lost control of Gaza.
Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.