Nearly 200 patients were evacuated Monday from an Indonesian hospital in the northern Gaza Strip where “12 patients and their relatives” were killed in an Israeli strike, said Ashraf al-Kindra, a health ministry spokesman in the Hamas-controlled Palestinian enclave.

“The Israeli army is besieging the Indonesian Hospital and we fear that what happened in Al Shifa,” the largest hospital in the Gaza Strip, which was recently evacuated and is now under the control of the Israeli armed forces, will happen, said Dr. Kindra.

On Monday night, around 200 patients were evacuated from the hospital – with a nominal capacity of 140 beds – located in the area of ​​the Jambaliya refugee camp. The evacuation operation was coordinated with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which had been set as a condition to ensure that no ambulances were bombed, as was the case a few days ago. The Israeli military confirmed the strike, saying the ambulance in question was being “used” by Hamas.

“400 patients remain in the hospital and we are working with the ICRC to transfer them to Nasser Hospital in the (southern) city of Khan Younis,” said the spokesman for the Gaza Strip Health Ministry. In addition, “about 2,000 displaced people” are in and around the hospital complex, he added.

The World Health Organization yesterday condemned the “attack” on the hospital, confirming the account released by Hamas of “12 dead and dozens of wounded”.

In the Indonesian hospital, “we saw death face to face, the artillery fire and machine gun bursts were non-stop,” one of the wounded, 32-year-old Mohamed Akel, told AFP on his arrival at Khan Younis’ Nasser Hospital. He said that on the road leading to the southern part of the Gaza Strip he saw “many dead bodies”.

The Israeli armed forces have announced that they are expanding their operations to other districts of the Gaza Strip, especially in the Jambaliya sector.

Munir al-Bours, director-general of the Ministry of Health, who is in the Indonesian hospital, emphasized that the attack on the health structure means the “interruption of all medical services in the northern part of the Gaza Strip.” “The Israeli army has destroyed several departments, mainly hospitals and operating rooms, while others are threatened by sniper fire,” he said.

Soybean oil

In the Indonesian hospital, “more than 100 people urgently need to undergo surgery but we only had minimal staff”, while electricity production has not been sufficient since October 9, when the Israeli armed forces put the Gaza Strip under a complete siege, he explains the health ministry official in the Gaza Strip.

“Now we use soybean oil instead of fuel to run the generators,” he says.

Hamas has repeatedly accused the Israeli army of waging a “war on hospitals”, while Israel accuses the Palestinian Islamist group of using hospitals for military purposes.

On November 5, Israel’s military claimed that a Hamas command and control center was hidden beneath the Indonesian hospital, which the Palestinian movement denied. The Israeli military also released satellite photos showing a rocket launcher less than 100 meters from the hospital.

On October 28 and 29, after Israel ordered the evacuation of the hospital – funded by Indonesia and opened in 2015 – the Israeli military launched airstrikes in the area.

A few days ago, Israeli soldiers raided Al Shifa hospital in Gaza. Hundreds of patients, doctors and evacuees who had taken refuge there were rushed away.

According to the WHO, whose team performed an autopsy at the Al Shifa hospital, about 20 doctors and nurses and more than 250 patients were still in that hospital the day before yesterday Sunday.