32 babies among sick patients left at ‘death zone’ Gaza hospital

'Patients and health staff with whom they spoke were terrified for their safety and health, and pleaded for evacuation.'

32 babies among sick patients left at ‘death zone’ Gaza hospital
GAZA CITY, GAZA - OCTOBER 18: (EDITORS NOTE: Image depicts graphic content) A mom holds his injured child after an Israeli attack, as Israeli airstrikes continue on twelfth day, at Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, Gaza on October 18, 2023. (Photo by Ali Jadallah/Anadolu via Getty Images)
Patients and displaced people have left Shifa Hospital, but hundreds are still there (Picture: Ali Jadallah/Anadolu via Getty Images)

A United Nations team says 32 babies are among 291 patients left at Gaza’s largest hospital after IDF troops ordered it to be evacuated.

The babies are in an ‘extremely critical condition’, and other patients left at Shifa Hospital include trauma patients with infected wounds and people with spinal injuries who are unable to move.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) team said it was able to tour Shifa Hospital for an hour after about 2,500 displaced people, mobile patients, and medical staff left the compound on Saturday morning.

It said 25 medical staff remained along with the almost 300 patients who could not leave, after Israeli troops ordered the hospital evacuation, and described the hospital as a ‘death zone’.

A WHO spokesman said: ‘Patients and health staff with whom they spoke were terrified for their safety and health, and pleaded for evacuation.’

It’s hoped more teams will try to reach Shifa Hospital in the coming days to evacuate more patients to southern Gaza – however hospitals there are already overwhelmed.

Israel has long alleged that Hamas maintains a sprawling command post inside and under Shifa.

It has portrayed the hospital as a key target in its war to end the militants’ rule in Gaza following their wide-ranging attack into southern Israel on October 7, which triggered the war.

Hamas and hospital staff deny the allegations.

Follow Metro on WhatsApp to be the first to get all the latest news

Want to be the first to hear the world’s top stories? Metro.co.uk is now on WhatsApp sending updates and trending stories straight to your phone.

Join the Metro WhatsApp community for breaking news, juicy showbiz stories and must-watch videos from across our website.

Apps With More Than One Million Users
Follow us to receive the latest news updates from Metro (Picture: Getty Images)

We’ll send you updates all day long, so you never miss a story! You can have your say by taking part in polls and reacting to messages.

To join our Metro community, just follow these two easy steps.

Simply click on this link, select ‘Join Chat’ and you’re in!

Saturday’s mass departure was portrayed by Israel as voluntary, but the WHO said the military had issued evacuation orders, and some of those who left described it as a forced exodus.

‘We left at gunpoint,’ Mahmoud Abu Auf said after he and his family left the crowded hospital.

‘Tanks and snipers were everywhere inside and outside.’

The Israeli military, which has repeatedly called on Palestinians to leave northern Gaza, said only that its troops were active in the area ‘with the aim of hitting terrorists’.

It rarely comments on individual strikes, saying only that it targets Hamas while trying to minimise civilian harm.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected].

For more stories like this, check our news page.