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Israel-Palestine: Gaza hospitals targeted in heavy Israeli bombardment

Destroyed roads have impeded access to health infrastructure, hindering life-saving efforts
Health officials have called for the protection of medical facilities and roads leading to hospitals (Reuters)

A week's worth of heavy bombardment in Gaza has obliterated a number of buildings and roads, impeding emergency service access to locations affected by the attacks. 

According to Palestine's Ministry of Information, over 1,000 residential units have been damaged due to Israeli air strikes, as well as 36 schools and primary healthcare clinics. 

Gaza: With no end in sight, Israel intensifies bombing campaign
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The Ministry of Information estimates that $18m worth of damage has been done to streets and infrastructure in the besieged Gaza Strip. 

In Gaza, an air strike that struck close to the Remal medical clinic, school and orphanage has caused further strain on health facilities in the area. 

Speaking to Middle East Eye’s correspondent on the ground, eyewitnesses recounted scenes of terror, and questioned why key locations were being targeted.

"If the Ministry of Health is no longer safe, then where can we be safe?" one man said. "These are war crimes, and it’s not acceptable to stay silent about it."

As plumes of smoke engulfed the area, other key locations such as the Ministry of Health, NGO offices and the Reuters Gaza bureau were also impacted by the bombardment.

"No one is safe in the Gaza Strip, no one here is safe. In our homes we are being targeted, children are being targeted, women, the elderly, the offices of the Ministry of Health, everything is destroyed. Why have they destroyed the building immediately next to the Ministry of Health?" another local resident told Middle East Eye. 

'Stronger than previous campaigns'

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has said the pattern of Israeli bombings is unprecedented, even given the state's previous bombing campaigns in the besieged territory. 

"The Israeli bombing is incredibly heavy and stronger than previous bombing campaigns," said Hellen Ottens-Patterson, the head of MSF's mission in Palestine.

"Emergency health workers are taking incredible but necessary risks to move around … our teams were confronted with serious injuries caused by the Israeli police to men, women and children," she added. 

Online, people have lambasted the Israeli military over their targeting of key roads and accessways, which have prevented ambulances from reaching healthcare centres and hospitals. 

A number of rights organisations have also condemned the targeting of humanitarian workers, civilians and journalists. 

Among those killed by Israel were two leading doctors, identified as Ayman Abu al-Auf and Moean Alalol.

In a press conference in Gaza on Sunday, health officials called for the protection of medical staff and facilities. They said their ability to help victims was hindered due to the Israeli air strikes and warned that a prolonged bombing campaign by Israel could have devastating humanitarian consequences.

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