People fleeing the Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City were shot at by surrounding Israeli forces, Doctors Without Borders claimed Saturday.
The hospital is near the center of the city, which has reportedly been surrounded by the Israeli military as it continues a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip.
“At the time of writing, our staff are witnessing people being shot at as they attempt to flee the Al-Shifa hospital,” the organization said Saturday morning. “MSF urgently reiterates its calls to stop the attacks against hospitals, for an immediate ceasefire and for the protection of medical facilities, medical staff and patients.”
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is another name for Doctors Without Borders.
Al-Shifa Hospital, the largest in Gaza, has been under attack for at least a day and contains hundreds of patients, MSF claimed, citing its medical staff inside the facility.
“Over the past 24 hours, hospitals in Gaza have been under relentless bombardment,” the organization said. “Al-Shifa hospital complex, the biggest health facility where MSF staff are still working, has been hit several times, including the maternity and outpatient departments, resulting in multiple deaths and injuries.”
The organization also said it has lost contact with a surgeon at Al-Quds Hospital and that Al-Rantisi children’s hospital was reportedly “surrounded by Israeli tanks.”
The Israeli military denied claims that the Al-Shifa Hospital is under a “siege” early Saturday, claiming that its military is fighting Hamas militants nearby. The Israeli military said it is allowing people to leave the hospital safely if they wish, a claim MSF contests.
“Despite regular attacks and shortages, the staff has managed to keep the hospital operational,” MSF said. “Yesterday, Al-Shifa hospital lost electrical power. The ambulances can no longer move to collect the injured, and non-stop bombardment prevents patients and staff from evacuating.”
In a Channel 4 interview Friday, MSF surgeon Dr. Mohammed Obeid iterated that staff can not leave the hospital because many patients require surgery and can not walk.
“We cannot leave because from [Thursday] morning until now, we operated on about 25 patients,” he said. “If I am not here or the other surgeon, who will take care of the patients?”
The Israel-Hamas war has killed over 11,000 Palestinians, including over 4,000 children, according to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Health ministry.
The fighting began early last month after Hamas militants launched a surprise attack on Israeli border communities, killing approximately 1,200 people.