Drastically Different Narratives Emerge Centered On Shifa Hospital’s Mounting Deaths

This weekend has seen the most intense fighting in Gaza City which has centered on al-Shifa hospital and its vicinity, which is the Strip’s largest, which has for days been totally surrounded by Israeli forces, and lacking food and water.

The hospital is “totally surrounded and bombardments are going on nearby,” its director, Mohammad Abu Salmiya, announced in a late Saturday statement. Israel has claimed that Hamas uses bunkers beneath the hospital as a command center. However, al-Shifa’s head of surgery, Dr Marwan Abusada, has told regional news sources that civilians are trapped and patients are dying.

Patients & internally displaced people at Al-Shifa hospital, via APF

“Shooting and bombardment are everywhere you hear it at every second around the al-Shifa Hospital. No one can get out. No one can come in. People who tried evacuate the hospital, they were shot at in the streets. Some got killed, some injured,” he described of the desperate situation. Some Israeli officials and media have alleged that it is in fact Hamas snipers doing the shooting, though without evidence.

Palestinian Minister of Health Mai al-Kaila has at the same time said Israel’s military “are not evacuating people from hospitals; instead they are forcibly evicting the wounded onto the streets, leaving them to face inevitable death.”

This was in response to the IDF announcing it would help facilitate the safe passage of babies and other wounded from the hospital. But the IDF has asserted repeatedly it is Hamas that is using civilians at the hospital as ‘human shields’ and that Hamas also hijacked inbound fuel which was meant for hospital generators. 

The Wall Street Journal on Sunday also quoted doctors who presented a scenario of mass suffering and death unfolding:

Doctors described an increasingly desperate situation at hospitals in northern Gaza, including the biggest one, Al-Shifa Hospital, where they said dozens of dead bodies have been left in the open and decomposing and nearly 40 prematurely born babies are without the incubators they need.

“If we do not stop this bloodshed immediately with a ceasefire or at the bare minimum a medical evacuation of patients these hospitals will become a morgue,” Doctors Without Borders, the international healthcare charity, said Sunday.

Competing and contrasting narratives have emerged concerning who is to blame for deaths at Shifa hospital…

Israel’s Foreign Ministry has said the compounding misery is being orchestrated by Hamas…

Meanwhile, also on Sunday fighting along the Israeli-Lebanon border is worsening following the latest wave of Hezbollah rockets, some of which reportedly scored direct hits, leaving significant casualties. 

At least six civilians were wounded, one critically, in an anti-tank guided missile attack by the Hezbollah terror group from Lebanon on Sunday, the military and medics said,” the Times of Israel reports.

Hezbollah has been facing pressure from both its supporters in the region and Palestinian armed factions to ‘do more’ and escalate its attacks on northern Israel.

However, many of the IDF soldiers were reported as only “lightly wounded” and were evaluated at a local hospital. There are reports that Israel’s military is preparing more devastating retaliatory attacks on southern Lebanon.

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