Israeli forces target solar panels at Gaza’s al-Shifa Hospital

The Gaza Strip’s largest hospital is near collapse. The latest strike is expected to exacerbate the healthcare crisis in the enclave.

People are assisted at Shifa Hospital after hundreds of Palestinians were killed in a blast at Al-Ahli hospital in Gaza
People are helped at al-Shifa Hospital after hundreds of Palestinians were killed in an Israeli blast at al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza on October 17, 2023 [File: Mohammed Al-Masri/Reuters]

Israeli forces have targeted the solar panel system at a building in the al-Shifa Hospital complex, the Gaza Strip’s largest hospital, which is already on the brink of collapse with fuel, water and medicines running out.

Reporting from Khan Younis in Gaza, Al Jazeera’s Tareq Abou Azzoum said Israel’s relentless bombardment has continued to escalate in the north and central areas of the besieged enclave.

“This time, they [Israeli forces] have destroyed the solar panels installed on the rooftop of the al-Shifa Hospital building,” Abou Azzoum said.

“This is a clear attack that destroyed the solar panels that provide electricity to the main departments of the hospital. This will exacerbate the current situation at al-Shifa Hospital with the ongoing crisis with fuel running out at the hospital.

“This will stop the provision of other services as well, including water for the thousands of people residing at this complex,” he added.

The Palestinian Al-Aqsa Radio also confirmed reports about the hospital’s solar panel system being struck by Israel.

However, chief Israeli military spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari rejected the claims, saying: “We didn’t attack, to the best of my knowledge, solar panels in the Shifa hospital.”

On the brink of collapse: no fuel for Gaza’s hospitals (Al Jazeera)

Targeting hospitals

Israel has continued heavy shelling near several hospitals in the Gaza Strip as the conflict moved into its fourth week. 

On Sunday, the lack of fuel and large numbers of wounded Palestinians arriving at al-Shifa Hospital, resulted in its maternity ward being transferred to the private al-Helou International Hospital. The area near al-Shifa also saw particularly heavy strikes on Sunday.

Earlier that day, an Israeli attack hit near Al-Quds Hospital in Gaza City, wounding at least 14 people and damaging the building.

Hospitals and ambulances have been targeted several times since the Israeli attacks began on October 7, killing patients, displaced civilians sheltering at the facilities as well as health workers.

According to the World Health Organization, 39 health facilities have been damaged since the war began. Hospitals have also been forced to shut down or cut services after electricity and fuel supplies were cut.

At least 10,022 Palestinians, including 4,008 children, have been killed in the Gaza Strip since the latest war began, Gaza’s Ministry of Health said on Monday, as entire neighbourhoods have been reduced to rubble. More than 1,400 people were killed in attacks by Hamas on southern Israel on October 7, which started the war.

Nearly 1.5 million people, more than half the population, are now internally displaced in Gaza, according to the United Nations.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies