GAZA: Hundreds of people evacuated Gaza’s Al-Shifa hospital on foot today, according to an AFP journalist at the scene, after the hospital director said that Israel’s army ordered for the hospital to be emptied.
The Hamas-run health ministry said in a statement that 120 wounded were still at the facility, along with an unspecified number of premature babies, adding that it was in touch with the Red Cross about the infants.
Officials said a few medical staff stayed behind to care for those who could not be moved.
Columns of sick and injured – some of them amputees – displaced people, doctors, and nurses, made their way towards the seafront.
Israel’s army denied ordering the evacuation.
The army “acceded to the request of the director of the Shifa Hospital to enable additional Gazans who were in the hospital, and would like to evacuate, to do so” an army statement said.
The United Nations estimated that 2,300 patients, staff, and displaced Palestinians were sheltering at Al-Shifa before Israeli troops moved in on Wednesday.
Israel accuses Hamas of staging attacks from hideouts under the sprawling health complex, and its troops are combing buildings for evidence to back their claims.
Hamas, the Islamist movement which governs Gaza and has an armed wing, has consistently denied using hospitals as bases for its fighters.
Hamas health officials say dozens of patients have died at the hospital owing to blackouts due to fuel shortages caused by intense combat in northern Gaza.