Gaza Hospital Director Says 179 Buried In ‘Mass Grave’ In Compound

According to the head of Gaza’s largest hospital, 179 individuals, including babies and patients who died in the intensive care unit, were buried in a “mass grave” at the compound on Tuesday.

“We were forced to bury them in a mass grave,” said Mohammad Abu Salmiyah, director of Al-Shifa hospital, adding that seven babies and 29 intensive care patients were among those buried after the hospital’s fuel supply ran out.

As US President Joe Biden encouraged Israel to safeguard the complex, tanks gathered near the gates of Gaza’s largest hospital, where Palestinians were imprisoned in grave conditions.

Witnesses reported tanks and armoured vehicles were metres (yards) away from the besieged Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City, which has been a focal point of the five-week-old battle.

The United Nations believes that thousands, if not more than 10,000 people — patients, staff, and displaced civilians — are trapped within and unable to flee due to close violence.

A surgeon working for Doctors Without Borders claimed the situation inside the hospital had grown “very bad” amid reports of premature babies dying due to a shortage of electricity and patients fearing gunshots.

“We don’t have electricity. There’s no water in the hospital. There’s no food,” said the doctor, who was not named by his organisation. “It is inhuman.”

Israel charges Hamas fighters with utilizing the hospital’s tunnels as a command “node,” effectively using the ill and injured as human shields. It’s a charge Hamas denies.

Israel claims it is not targeting the hospital, but has pledged to destroy Hamas in reaction to the October 7 bombings, which killed an estimated 1,200 people, largely civilians, and resulted in the return of 240 hostages to Gaza.

According to the health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza, Israel’s assault has already killed 11,240 individuals, the vast majority of whom are civilians, including thousands of children.

Israel claims that 46 of its servicemen were killed in the Gaza conflict.

Biden urged Israel to employ “less intrusive action relative to the hospital,” making some of his most severe remarks on Israeli operations to date. “The hospital must be protected,” he told journalists.

According to Israeli military spokesman Peter Lerner, Al-Shifa is “central to Hamas’ command and control capabilities,” although forces are currently “stand-offish.”

“The idea is to try to evacuate the people, evacuate as many as possible,” he said.

Both sides have regularly presented dramatically different interpretations of events, emphasizing the significance that worldwide public opinion is playing in the fight.

Lerner put the number of people inside the hospital at “a few hundred,” but Youssef Abu Rish, the Hamas government’s deputy health minister, who is present, stated over 20,000 displaced individuals had sought safety there.

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