‘Ripped children to pieces’: Doctors work overtime with dwindling supplies after Gaza hospital attack

‘…ripped children to pieces’: Doctors work overtime with dwindling supplies after Gaza hospital blast

Anwesha Mitra
First Published18 Oct 2023
A Palestinian boy sits on the rubble of the building destroyed in an Israeli airstrike in Bureij refugee camp in Gaza Strip on October 18, 2023.
A Palestinian boy sits on the rubble of the building destroyed in an Israeli airstrike in Bureij refugee camp in Gaza Strip on October 18, 2023. (AP)

Hundreds of Palestinian civilians were killed on Tuesday night after a hospital was bombed amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas clash. Doctors at the Al-Ahli al-Arabi Hospital recall hearing a massive explosion before the roof caved in and the building was filled with people screaming for help. The attack source remains unclear with both Hamas and the Israel Defence Force pointing fingers at each other. 

“People came running into the surgery department screaming help us, help us, there are people killed and wounded inside the hospital. We tried to save whoever could be saved but the number was too great for the hospital team,” Fadel Naim – the head of orthopaedic surgery – told Reuters.

He had just finished a procedure when the blast occurred and stepped out to find the hospital full of dismembered bodies and wounded people. Blood stained the walls and the ground in what was normally a peaceful place that helped patients recover.

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Hospitals in the narrow Gaza Strip have been crammed beyond capacity since Israel launched an offensive earlier this month. Apart from the ever-growing list of wounded patients, these also served as a refuge to civilians who believed them to be safe havens against strikes.

"This place created a safe haven for women and children, those who escaped the Israeli bombing into this hospital, those who saw this place as a safe haven. Without warning this hospital was targeted. We don't know what the shell is called but we saw the results of it when it targeted children and ripped their bodies into pieces," said fellow doctor Ibrahim Al-Naqa.

Dr Ibrahim Al-Naqa told Reuters that more than 3,000 people had sought refuge at the hospital at the time of the strike. A Gaza civil defence chief gave a death toll of 300 at the hospital, while health ministry sources put it at 500. Bodies were still being pulled from the rubble on Wednesday.

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Doctors have also been left feeling the brunt of combat fatigue as the list of casualties continues to grow. 

“We are exhausted. The number of patients just keeps getting bigger,” said British-Palestinian doctor Ghassan Abusittah.

(With inputs from agencies)

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