Palestinian Ministry says 7 Gaza hospitals “out of service”

October 20, 2023

A spokesperson for the Palestinian Ministry of Health on Friday said that seven hospitals and 21 primary care health centers in Gaza were “out of service.”

According to the ministry, 64 medical staffers in Gaza have been killed amid the Israel-Hamas war, now in its 13th day. Further, ministry spokesperson Dr. Ashraf Al-Qidra said 23 ambulances had been destroyed. 

Those numbers have not been independently verified by CNN, which first reported the story. However, on Thursday the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said that more than 60% of primary care facilities have been shut down, and hospitals in Gaza are on the brink of collapse due to the shortage of power, medicine, equipment and specialized personnel.

Further, an independent U.S. assessment pointed to a misfired Islamic Jihad rocket caused an explosion Tuesday at the Al Ahli hospital in Gaza City that killed hundreds of civilians.

Noting that the people of Gaza “urgently need food, water and medicine,” President Biden on Thursday evening pressed his case for increasing aid to the Middle East as well as to Ukraine.

During his Oval Office address, Biden added that while on his trip to Israel this week he had discussed with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu “the critical need for Israel to operate by the laws of war. That means protecting civilians in combat as best as they can.” 

During his visit, Biden secured an agreement with Israel’s cabinet for the “delivery of life-saving humanitarian assistance to civilians in Gaza” who are running out of crucial supplies, some ten days after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared a “complete seige” of Gaza, cutting off electricity, food, fuel and water in the territory.

Up to 20 aid trucks were set to begin rolling across the Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza, as soon as roads destroyed by Israeli airstrikes are repaired. A United Nations spokesperson told Reuters on Friday that a first round of aid delivery was due to start rolling into Gaza “in the next day or so.”

PHOTO: Palestine Red Crescent Society ambulance in Gaza, Oct 7

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