Israeli Forces Cut Off Access to Kamal Adwan Hospital in Northern Gaza - The World News

Israeli Forces Cut Off Access to Kamal Adwan Hospital in Northern Gaza

Israeli forces massed at the entrance to a major hospital in the northern Gaza Strip on Friday, trapping more than a dozen medical personnel inside and all but putting one of the last functioning hospitals out of operation, according to a doctor and Palestinian news media.

For days, the Israeli military has bombarded the area around Kamal Adwan Hospital in Beit Lahia, near the northernmost edge of the territory. Its advance with tanks toward the northern entrances cut off access to the hospital, according to Dr. Eid Sabbah, the head of nursing at the hospital.

“Now it is considered practically, because it is besieged, not operational,” said Dr. Sabbah, who had been at the hospital on Thursday. Many patients were receiving kidney dialysis on Thursday, he said, but they also left before the military cut off access. “The military has reached the entrances,” he said.

The blockade of Kamal Adwan came two days after the Israeli military ordered patients and staff at Al Awda Hospital near Jabaliya, another major medical center in northern Gaza, to evacuate on Wednesday and then raided the complex. About 30 people remained there, including medical staff and patients in critical condition who could not be transferred. Israeli forces destroyed doors and damaged equipment, Gazan officials said.

The Israeli military has repeatedly besieged and assaulted Gaza’s hospitals, contending that Hamas, the armed group that led the Oct. 7 attack on Israel, uses them as shields, with its fighters operating within the hospitals and from tunnels beneath them. Hamas and hospital administrators have denied the claims.

The Israel military has taken journalists on tours of one hospital it raided and provided documents it says proves its claims about Hamas and hospitals. But there has been no independent verification of the claims.

The Israeli bombardment and raids by ground troops have put many of Gaza’s hospitals out of operation and only a few remain even partially functional. Nearly 500 medical workers have been killed in seven and a half months of fighting, and Israeli forces have detained dozens of others, according to the Gaza ministry of health.

Israeli forces besieged and then raided Kamal Adwan Hospital in December and detained its director. Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, the largest in the enclave, has been raided three times during the war.

When asked about its forces at the hospital on Friday, the Israeli military said it “does not comment on the deployment of its forces.”

Dr. Sabbah said there were 15 to 20 doctors and nurses still inside Kamal Adwan, but no patients.

“They know there are medical personnel inside,” he said of the Israeli military. “We haven’t been informed if there is going to be a raid, but at any moment this can happen.”

Earlier this week, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director general of the World Health Organization, said on social media that Kamal Adwan had reportedly been struck four times, damaging the intensive care unit, reception, administration and the roof.

“Over the past few weeks, intense hostilities have reportedly occurred in the vicinity of the hospital that resulted in an increased influx of injured patients to the already overstretched facility,” Mr. Tedros wrote.

The Israeli military has returned to areas of northern and central Gaza it had previously seized, saying that fighters for Hamas and other groups had returned. The renewed Israeli assaults there have killed and wounded dozens, according to health officials.

The fighting in the north means that many Palestinians who had earlier fled that area but later returned to their homes have been forced to flee again, alongside people who had stayed in the area throughout the war, often in shelters.

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