• Death toll rises above 13,000 • Jordanian field hospital enters besieged enclave • 28 premature babies evacuated
GAZA: Israeli tanks surrounded the Indonesian Hospital in Gaza as ground forces fired into the complex, killing at least 12 people, including patients, on Monday.
Dozens more were wounded and around 700 people trapped inside the “besieged” medical centre.
The hospital, set up in 2016 with funding from Indonesian organisations, is located near the Jabalia refugee camp. Like all other health facilities in the northern half of Gaza, the hospital has largely ceased operations but is still sheltering patients, staff and displaced residents.
Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi on Monday condemned Israel’s “attack” on the Indonesian Hospital in Gaza.
The head of the World Health Organisation also said he was “appalled” by the attack on the Indonesian Hospital in Gaza that he said had killed 12 people, including patients, citing unspecified reports.
Also on Monday, the Gaza administration updated its death toll from the invasion of Israel to 13,300.
The death toll includes 5,600 children and 3,550 women, the statement said, adding that at least 6,500 people have been reported as missing, 4,400 of whom are women and children.
At the other end of the Gaza Strip, health officials said at least 14 Palestinians were killed in two Israeli air strikes on houses in the town of Rafah, near the border with Egypt.
In Deir al-Balah south of Gaza City, rescuers searched through the debris for survivors and bodies, using the lights of their mobile phones in the rain.
“There are only children and women in the house and no one else,” exclaimed one resident. “How can that give them (the Israeli army) an excuse to hit it? …We don’t have any equipment to pull people out from under the rubble.”
The UN humanitarian agency OCHA has described a “collapse of services” at hospitals across northern Gaza, amid shortages of electricity, fuel and medical supplies.
Jordanian field hospital
Meanwhile, reports that a Jordanian field hospital had entered the Gaza Strip, offered some cause for optimism.
Mohammed Zaqout, director-general of Gaza hospitals, said the field hospital will be established in Khan Yunis, in the south, “to receive the wounded and the sick”.
Hospitals in the area were experiencing “catastrophic” conditions, he said, “with the influx of hundreds of wounded each day and continued aggressive aerial and artillery strikes”. They could no longer accept sick patients or women who needed to give birth by Caesarean section, he added.
The field hospital has a 41-bed capacity, the Jordanian royal palace said, and Aed Yaghi, head of medical aid in Gaza, said it was accompanied by 170 personnel and 40 trucks of medical aid.
It would help ease the pressure on existing health services, he told AFP, adding: “The number of medical personnel is limited and there aren’t (enough) ambulances.” Palestinian medics hope field hospitals sent by the United Arab Emirates and Qatar will soon follow.
In addition, 28 premature babies were evacuated from war-torn Gaza to Egypt on Monday.
The World Health Organisation said 28 premature babies evacuated from Gaza’s biggest hospital, Al-Shifa, had been taken to safety in Egypt through the Rafah crossing, revising down by one a number given by Egyptian media.
“All babies are fighting serious infections and continue needing health care,” the WHO said, while the Israeli army said it had “helped facilitate” the transfer.
Tel Aviv claims that Hamas has used vast tunnel networks below Al-Shifa hospital for military purposes and showed recovered weaponry as proof, but has yet to present evidence of a major military headquarters below ground.