Two of Gaza’s top hospitals remained in a state of utter crisis on Sunday as Israel’s ground invasion left them without fuel and power, officials said.
Israeli troops’ continued shelling of Al-Quds Hospital, which Israel said is housing Hamas members underneath the facility, has rendered it unable to care for its 500 patients, Palestinian Red Crescent said on Sunday. The hospital was also used as shelter for 14,000 people who were displaced by the bombing of Gaza City.
“The cessation of services is due to the depletion of available fuel and power outage,” the Red Crescent said in a statement, according to The New York Times. It also said medical staff were “making every effort to provide care to patients and the wounded.”
The intense fighting has also left Al-Shifa Hospital, Gaza’s largest medical center, in an increasingly dire situation, with at least eight people—including three newborns—dying there over the weekend as the result of a power outage, according to the Health Ministry. Its operating rooms have also become completely unusable due to a lack of electricity, the facility’s director said in an Arabic-language interview, according to CNN.
“The operating rooms are completely out of service, and now the wounded come to us and we cannot give them anything other than first aid,” Dr. Muhammad Abu Salmiya said. “Whoever needs surgery dies, and we cannot do anything for them.”
To make matters worse, Israeli soldiers have surrounded the building, where hundreds of ill patients have been trapped inside, according to the Times.
Medical charity MSF called it a “catastrophic situation.”
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Sunday that the constant bombing has put the medical center in “dire and perilous” circumstances.
“Tragically, the number of patient fatalities has increased significantly,” he wrote on X. “Regrettably, the hospital is not functioning as a hospital anymore.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed on Meet the Press on Sunday that Israel had offered fuel to keep the hospital running, but Hamas “refused.”
“I think every civilian death, every dead baby is a tragedy. But that tragedy should be placed squarely at the responsibility of Hamas that is keeping its military installations inside hospitals, its command posts inside hospitals, inside schools, in side UNRWA, UN facilities, and so on,” Netanyahu said. “So we obviously don’t want to give them immunity. But at the same time, we’re sensitive to this issue. So we offered this help. They refused it.”
The humanitarian crisis at Gaza hospitals has prompted further calls for a ceasefire or pause, including from allies such as France and the World Health Organization.
“WHO calls again for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza as the only way to save lives and reduce the horrific levels of suffering,” the organization said in a statement. “Hospitals, patients, health staff, and persons sheltering in health facilities are protected under the Geneva Conventions and International Humanitarian Law.”
The conflict has angered citizens on both side of the war, with thousands of Israelis marching in Tel Aviv on Saturday urging the country to do even more to retrieve the more than 200 hostages kidnapped by Hamas during the Oct. 7 attack. Five hostages have been freed since the attack, though Israel rejected a deal to see about 50 hostages released to start its ground invasion.
“I’m done with the hugs and empathy phase,” Orli Gilboa, whose daughter Daniela was taken hostage, told the crowd during the Saturday rally, according to the Jerusalem Post. “I want to see actions that will bring my daughter and the abductees home now.”
The Tel Aviv rally coincided with a pro-Palestinian march in London, where officials estimated roughly 300,000 people marched through the city in support of the country. The march was somewhat disrupted by far-right counter-protestors that clashed with police, according to The Guardian.