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Israel-Palestine war: Stray dogs eat corpses at al-Shifa hospital amid total siege

On the 38th day of the Israeli onslaught on Gaza, medics and patients at Gaza's largest hospital are crying for help as food, water and fuel run out
A relative of Baraka and Abu Reda mourns near their bodies at a hospital, following Israeli strikes, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip 13 November 2023 (Reuters)
A woman mourns a child and other family members by their bodies at a hospital, following Israeli strikes, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, 13 November 2023 (Reuters)
By Rayhan Uddin in London and Lubna Masarwa in Jerusalem

A Palestinian doctor at the besieged al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City warned on Monday that premature babies are at risk of imminent death after fuel ran out in the facility, with several infants already dying due to lack of power.

"Unfortunately, this situation means that we are waiting for them to die one by one," Ahmad Mukhallati, the head of the plastic surgery department at the hospital, told Middle East Eye, adding that five premature babies had already died in recent days.

Al-Shifa, Gaza’s largest medical complex, had been declared out of service over the weekend as Israeli forces intensified their bombardment of its vicinity and ground troops continued to besiege it, since encircling it on Friday. 

Health ministry official Munir al-Bursh broke down on Monday morning on Al Jazeera as he explained that stray dogs were eating the bodies of civilians in the yard of the hospital, as no one was able to bury the dead amid the bombardment.

Mukhallati called for the "massacre" to be stopped and for a "safe, guaranteed corridor" to allow patients to be evacuated from the facility. 

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But during the past three days, no one has been able to get in or out of the hospital, with Israeli snipers and tanks firing just metres away from the facility. 

Follow MEE's live coverage on the Israel-Palestine conflict

Mukhallati explained to MEE that there was no water or electricity at the facility, and food and fuel had almost run out. 

"We've got only one socket where we put on the anaesthesia machine," he said. "We don't do anything except for life-saving procedures now."

Mukhallati added that the incubator machines, which "mimic the situation within the uterus", require high levels of electricity.

"[The babies] have to be fully isolated from the surrounding areas so they don't get any infection as their immunity is not mature yet," he said.

But because of the blackout, the infants have been moved to normal beds - conditions in which they cannot survive.

'The situation is very bad, it is inhuman. It’s a closed area, no one knows about us'

MSF surgeon at al-Shifta hospital

He added that there was nowhere to move or bury dead bodies. 

"The bodies will really be the big source of infection and all kinds of bacteria and other diseases, and then we can't do anything," he said.

The director of the medical complex told Al Jazeera later on Monday that eight patients had died since the morning.

Meanwhile, a surgeon representing Doctors Without Borders (MSF) at the hospital reiterated the same concerns on Monday.

“The situation is very bad, it is inhuman. It’s a closed area, no one knows about us,” he said in a voice note sent 8:10 am. 

He said that there are 600 inpatients and 37 babies at the facility, and that doctors will not evacuate and abandon them.

"We don’t have electricity. There’s no water in the hospital. There’s no food. People will die in a few hours without functioning ventilators."

Israeli forces are also attacking ambulances that attempt to bring patients to the hospital, he added. The front of the hospital has many dead bodies as well as wounded people, but they are unable to bring them inside the hospital. 

“We need a guarantee that there is a safe corridor because we saw some people trying to leave Al-Shifa, they killed them, they bombed them, the sniper killed them.

“Inside the Al-Shifa hospital, there are injured patients, medical teams. If they give us guarantees and evacuate the patients first, we will evacuate.”

Israeli troops arrest males near al-Quds hospital

Elsewhere in the Gaza Strip, a spokesperson for the Palestine Red Crescent in Gaza, Mahmoud Basal, said that al-Ahli hospital was the only hospital still providing services in the besieged enclave. 

Near Al-Quds hospital, he said that Israeli forces had separated men and women, before arresting all the men.

'There are no resources to deal with the nature of the injuries among citizens'

-  Mahmoud Basal, Palestine Red Crescent in Gaza

Basal added that communication was cut from the Gaza Strip, and that medics relied on the sounds of explosions to identify the locations of the dead and wounded. 

“There are no resources to deal with the nature of the injuries among citizens,” he said. “We are living in a painful and difficult reality. We have more than 100 wounded among our crews and have lost half of our equipment.”

Meanwhile, Palestinian journalist Ahmad Fatima was killed in an Israeli air strike in Gaza on Monday, according to Wafa news agency. 

On Sunday, the Committee to Protect Journalists said that at least 40 journalists had been killed since the war began on 7 October, of whom 35 were Palestinian, four were Israelis and one Lebanese.

The Israeli bombardment of Gaza over the past 38 days has killed 11,240 Palestinians, including 4,630 children and 3,130 women, the government media office in Gaza said on Monday. 

gaza hospital map

The figures are accurate as of 4.50pm GMT on 13 November. 

Around 29,000 people have been wounded, 70 percent of them women and children. 

More than 3,000 people are still missing, including at least 1,500 children. The vast majority of these people are believed to be dead and buried under rubble.

In Israel, Palestinian-led attacks on 7 October have left around 1,200 people dead, including at least 31 children, according to Israeli officials.

Israel 'executed' Palestinians fleeing North Gaza

The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor said on Monday it has documented the execution of dozens of Palestinians by Israeli army forces during their displacement from northern Gaza to central and southern parts of the Strip, even though they did not pose any threat.

The group did not give an exact number of "executions" but said it received hundreds of reports.

It said Palestinians were targeted by live bullets and sometimes artillery in premeditated killings during their attempt to flee at the request of the Israeli army to the area south of Wadi Gaza.

The statement said the NGO received reports from displaced people reporting killings at military checkpoints set up by the Israeli army as part of its designation of a “safe corridor” along the main traffic artery, Salah al-Din Road, between 9:00 and 16:00 during the day.

The group called on the UN and the International Criminal Court to open an independent investigation into the matter.

Israeli shelling in Lebanon kill civilians

In Lebanon, journalists were targeted on Monday by Israeli strikes in the southern village of Yaroun, according to local reports. Al Jazeera said its photographer Issam Mawasi was lightly wounded and his vehicle damaged as a result of the attack.

Lebanese channel Al Jadeed News was broadcasting live from Yaroun when a bomb landed metres away from its reporter. 

The broadcaster called it an "intentional Israeli attack targeting the whereabouts of a number of journalists".

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 Another Israeli air strike in southern Lebanon on Monday killed two civilians and wounded several others, according to Lebanon's National News Agency. 

The air strike targeted a house in Aynata, a village along the southern frontier with Israel.

The Israeli military said earlier on Monday that rocket sirens were sounded in several northern Israeli cities after two mortar rounds launched from southern Lebanon.

It added that both projectiles landed in open areas, and that Israel responded by firing at the launch site. 

A day earlier, Hezbollah claimed responsibility for a guided missile attack that Israel said wounded at least two electrical company workers. A mortar attack also wounded seven Israeli soldiers. 

"The IDF is focused on Gaza but we are at a very high state of readiness in the north," Israeli military spokesperson Daniel Hagari said. "Lebanon's citizens will bear the cost of this recklessness, and of Hezbollah's decision to be the defender of Hamas-ISIS.

"The IDF has operational plans for changing the security situation in the north. The security situation will not remain one in which northern residents do not feel secure in returning to their homes."

At least 70 Hezbollah fighters and several Lebanese civilians have been killed by Israeli forces since 7 October. 

UK: Suella Braverman sacked, Lib Dems call for ceasefire

In the UK, Home Secretary Suella Braverman was sacked by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak during a cabinet reshuffle on Monday. 

This follows an article she wrote last week in The Times about pro-Palestinian protests which had not been approved by Downing Street, and a weekend of violence by far-right groups who clashed with police in central London, which critics say was stirred up by Braverman's comments against police and marchers. 

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In the article, Braverman criticised the police's handling of the marches, accusing them of "double standards" in comparison with policing at right-wing demonstrations. 

She called the pro-Palestine protesters "hate marchers" and compared them to sectarian groups in Northern Ireland - comments which caused outrage across the UK.  

Meanwhile, the UK’s Liberal Democrats have called for an immediate ceasefire in the Israel-Palestine war. 

"More than a month since Hamas’ atrocities, it is increasingly clear that a military solution to eliminate Hamas is not possible. Nor is it tenable for Israel to reoccupy Gaza," Lib Dem leader Ed Davey said on Sunday night. 

"Only a sustained political and diplomatic solution will resolve this conflict and deliver a lasting peace. We urgently need movement towards that solution now."

The Scottish National Party will attempt to use an amendment in the King's Speech to force a parliamentary vote on Wednesday demanding a ceasefire in Gaza. 

The Lib Dem stance will put further pressure on Labour leader Keir Starmer, who has come under criticism for not supporting a truce.

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