The Indonesian Hospital, one of northern Gaza’s largest healthcare facilities, was so severely damaged in Israeli attacks that it may never open again.
On Saturday, Munir al-Bursh, director-general of the Ministry of Health in Gaza, told Al Jazeera, “We are in shock and horrified at the scenes left by Israeli forces at the Indonesian Hospital.”
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Israeli tanks and snipers had laid siege to the hospital in Beit Lahiya for days, before targeting its main generator and raiding it in the early hours of Friday, shortly before a four-day truce between Israel and Hamas came into effect.
The ministry said on Friday that the hospital was undergoing “heavy bombardment” by the Israeli army and that there was fear for the lives of 200 injured people and medical staff. It added that intense Israeli fire killed a wounded woman and injured at least three others.
Now in ruins, the hospital is overwhelmed with large numbers of wounded people amid severe shortages in medical supplies. “Corridors have become wards and surgeons operate on the floor,” said Al Jazeera’s Osama Bin Javaid, who gained access to the facility.
“Outside the hospital building, the stench of death forces people to cover their nose, as charred and decomposing bodies, children among them, pile up in corners. No burials have taken place for days because Israeli snipers targeted anyone who ventured out to dig a grave,” he said.
Reporting from the hospital after the raid, Anas al-Sharif, one of the few remaining journalists in northern Gaza, said, “The occupation forces have damaged and destroyed large parts of the hospital. There’s been major destruction here. Even equipment and supplies have been ruined by occupation forces.”
Recalling the horror of the Israeli raid and interrogation of hospital staff, a nurse told Al Jazeera, “When they stormed the hospital we told them we are nurses, civilians, and that we have children and sick people here.”
“They interrogated me and three other nurses. They asked me about the resistance and if there were any fighters here. They asked about the entrances and exits of the hospital. We were all panicking. We were very scared,” she added.
Another nurse recalled how Israeli forces targeted the facility’s fourth floor with a missile and cut off electricity and solar power to the buildings.
“We had 25 people with broken pelvises who couldn’t be moved. They blew up this entrance, they shot the patients inside. They searched us one by one and scanned everyone’s faces. I told them I’m a nurse,” the male nurse from the emergency department told Al Jazeera.
“They took me to this corner and beat me, and asked me many questions about the hospital, the Israeli captives and hostages – whether I know anything about them. Every question was accompanied by a slap.
“After they left, we could’ve gone but I promised I would never leave my patients alone and that I would be the last one to leave this hospital,” said the nurse.
Hundreds of displaced people had previously sought asylum at the hospital, which is also close to the Jabalia refugee camp.
With the facility out of service for weeks and the damage severe, it remains unclear whether it will ever reopen.