Skip to main content
Live blog update| Israel-Palestine war

Al-Shifa doctor: Evacuations from hospital 'totally unsafe' but we have no choice

A doctor at al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza said he and his colleagues were being ordered to evacuate by Israel without any clear plan for where to move staff and patients.

Speaking to Middle East Eye, Ahmed Mokhallalati, head of the hospital's plastic surgery department, said that the evacuation of the hospital was "totally unsafe" but they had no choice.

"The [Israeli army] told us that if you don't evacuate you put your life at risk, so we had to evacuate in this way," he said via WhatsApp, through a hacking cough.

He said the UN and WHO had arrived at the hospital on Wednesday, as an agreed truce began, with a "very minimum" number of vehicles.

"We have in the hospital around 269 patients, at least 150 of them need a wheelchair or they need to be sitting," he said.

He said the situation was "totally unplanned" and they had no real idea of where to take patients once they left the hospital.

"As everyone knows, the hospitals in the south of Gaza are full of patients, so there is no space to get any new patients," he said.

"There is nothing guaranteed about the safety of the people in the safety corridor, it's just like 'evacuate, evacuate' so they can make sure there is a command centre here for the [Israeli army]."

The Palestine Red Crescent Society said earlier that 14 of its ambulances had arrived at the hospital, accompanied by the UN and Doctors Without Borders (RSFG), to evacuate the wounded and patients from the hospital: