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Gazans Describe Terrifying Evacuation From Hospital

Israeli military operations in Gaza have since killed more than 29,000 Palestinians.

Gunshots echoed around Palestinian doctors, patients and refugees during a horribly chaotic nighttime evacuation from Nasser Hospital in the Gaza Strip after Israeli forces stormed the hospital.

Survivors of last week’s attack on Gaza’s second-largest hospital said they then faced a treacherous walk in the dark to safety, passing bodies along the way.

One doctor says a male nurse was detained at an Israeli checkpoint and taken away naked and screaming.

Dr. Ahmed al-Mughrabi, head of the plastic surgery department who fled with his wife and children, said: “Smoke was everywhere, it was like doomsday. People were running everywhere.”

Mugharabi, who has taken shelter with his family in an evacuation center near another hospital where he works, said the Israeli military ordered everyone to evacuate except for patients who are unable to walk and the medical workers caring for them. Ta.

Details of the military attack on Nasser Hospital are gradually emerging as people who have been evacuated or evacuated arrive in Rafah, the last relatively safe place in the Gaza Strip, about 6 miles (10 kilometers) away on the border with Egypt. It has become.

Israel described the attack as a precision operation by special forces aimed at recovering the bodies of Israeli hostages. It said there was no obligation for patients or staff to leave and that efforts were being made to ensure the continued functioning of the hospital.

But the attack has caused alarm among aid agencies, with the World Health Organization saying the cost was “indescribable”.

The United Nations health agency, the WHO, has carried out two evacuations of Nasser Hospital since Thursday, but on Tuesday said nearly 150 patients and health workers remained in the hospital as fighting continued. He said he was concerned about this.

After laying siege to the hospital, Israeli forces entered the hospital last Thursday and announced they had captured hundreds of hidden operatives, including several posing as hospital staff.

Hamas denies using the hospital and calls Israel’s claims “lies”. The Gaza Health Ministry announced that Israel had detained 70 staff and volunteers working at the facility.

The WHO said the hospital had ceased functioning last week after being surrounded and attacked by Israeli forces, with no electricity or running water, and medical waste and garbage making it a breeding ground for disease.

Drone Fire “Aggressive Dogs”

According to Israeli tallies, Nasser Hospital has been in operation since the start of the war, which began on October 7, when fighters from the Palestinian group Hamas stormed an Israeli town, killing 1,200 people and taking 253 hostages. More than four months later, it was the largest hospital still operating in Gaza.

Israeli military operations in Gaza have since killed more than 29,000 Palestinians, according to health authorities in the Hamas-run enclave.

Hakim Salem Hussein Baraka said the orthopedics department at Nasser Hospital, where he worked as a volunteer, was destroyed and he witnessed patients being cut in half by the explosion.

Baraka said a “quadcopter” drone fired at medical staff taking a break between shifts, and that “aggressive” dogs with Israeli military cameras around their necks were roaming the hospital. .

The Israeli military said its forces engaged in a “complex battle” before entering the hospital grounds and were hit by rocket fire from fighter jets holed up inside the hospital. The report said troops found a large quantity of weapons and vehicles linked to the October 7 attack.

“We gave people an opportunity to evacuate before entering the hospital,” Col. Moshe Tetro said at a news conference. Asked if there had been any shooting or fighting inside the hospital, he answered, “No.”

As Palestinians left hospitals before dawn, some had to wade through sewage, said Rasmeya Saleem Abu Jamous, a dialysis patient who evacuated with her blind husband Abu Jamous. Ta.

He was reportedly among those detained at a military checkpoint after being discharged from hospital.

Mughrabi, a doctor, said the ward had been hit by Israeli shelling and believed the attack killed three patients. Reuters could not confirm this.

He said he left the hospital with his family, three patients and several staff members, but was stopped by a nurse in the department.

“They made him take off all his clothes, stripped him naked and took him to the detention center. You could hear him screaming,” he said.

Mugharabi said those who passed through the checkpoint then walked long distances across the battlefield to seek help. Some were sick or injured.

Baraa Ahmad Abu Mustafa, who was on ill-fitting crutches, said bullets were fired over his head as he made his way there, and a body was found near the entrance to the hospital.

“I walked for an hour with my injury,” he said. “The road was bad and dangerous.”

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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