Oxygen shortage kills 8 patients in besieged Gaza hospital: Minister

Health |  IANS  | Published :

Gaza, Feb 20 (IANS) Eight patients have died in a major hospital in southern Gaza's Khan Younis city after days of power outage and oxygen supply shortage due to continuous Israeli strikes on the facility, said Palestinian Health Minister Mai al-Kaila.

Conditions of some other serious patients became life-threatening due to the cessation of required treatment under the Israeli attack on the Nasser Hospital, she said on Monday in a statement, while calling for international efforts to pressure the release of bedridden patients and medical staff, who she claimed were taken away by Israeli military trucks from the hospital to an unknown location, Xinhua news agency reported.

Israeli forces last Thursday stormed the Nasser Hospital in the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis after demolishing its southern wall, the Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza earlier said.

The IDF said in a statement posted Sunday on social media platform X that it apprehended, in a joint operation with Israel Security Agency forces, hundreds of "terrorists" and other suspects who were hiding in the hospital, some posing as medical staff.

It said that large quantities of weapons and a vehicle belonging to an Israeli border kibbutz were found in the health facility, as well as medicines about to be handed over to Israeli hostages. It accused Hamas of using civilians in the hospital as human shields.

On Monday, the Gaza Health Ministry said that the Israeli army has turned the Nasser Medical Complex into a "military barracks," endangering the lives of patients and medical staff inside.

The Ministry said in a statement that 25 medical staff and 136 patients were still in the hospital "without electricity, water, food, oxygen, or adequate medical capabilities for critical cases".

The World Health Organisation was making efforts to evacuate the remaining patients to other hospitals, but the Israeli army was still "obstructing" the entry of medical and humanitarian aid into the complex, it noted.

Meanwhile, the IDF retweeted a statement by the Israeli Defence Ministry's liaison unit COGAT that humanitarian aid and supplies had been delivered to the Nasser Hospital, including generator, fuel, and WHO-donated medicine to ensure its continued service while carrying out the "precise activity against the Hamas" inside the facility.

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