GAZA: People trapped inside Gaza’s Al-Shifa hospital plan to start burying bodies within the hospital compound today without Israel’s approval because the situation has become untenable, two sources at the hospital said.
Dr Ahmed Al Mokhallalati, a surgeon, and Gaza health ministry spokesman Ashraf Al-Qidra said in separate telephone interviews from within the compound that more than 100 bodies had accumulated there, creating an acute sanitation crisis.
“We are planning to bury them today in a mass grave inside the Al-Shifa medical complex. It is going to be very dangerous as we don’t have any cover or protection from the ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross), but we have no other options, the corpses of the martyrs began to decompose,” said Qidra.
“The men are digging right now as we speak.”
Qidra put the number of bodies that had accumulated at Al-Shifa at about 100. Mokhallalati said it was about 120.
The hospital, besieged by Israeli forces and close to where intense fighting with Hamas has been taking place, has ceased functioning normally, with insufficient electricity, water, and other basics.
Mokhallalati said the bodies were generating an unbearable stench and posing a risk of infection.
“Today we had a little bit of rain…It was really horrible, nobody could even open a window,” he said.
“Unfortunately there is no approval from the Israelis to even bury the bodies within the hospital area,” he said.
“Today…civilians started digging within the hospital to try and bury the bodies on their own responsibility without any arrangements by the Israeli side.”
“Burying 120 bodies needs a lot of equipment, it can’t be by hand efforts and by single person efforts. It will take hours and hours to be able to bury all these bodies.”
Israel says that the Al-Shifa hospital sits atop tunnels housing a headquarters for Hamas fighters, who are to blame for its plight for using patients as human shields. Hamas denies this.