A Doctor’s Account At Al Shifa Hospital
A British physician working at Gaza’s main hospital, Al Shifa Hospital, acknowledged that certain parts of the hospital were off-limits to him due to the risk of being shot. His statement corroborates an IDF report that claims that Hamas uses the hospital as a significant command center.
During a recent interview, the doctor, who chose to remain anonymous to protect colleagues in Gaza, mentioned that three years ago, he worked for three months at Al Shifa Hospital and other medical facilities in Gaza and the West Bank.
The doctor revealed that when initially tasked with working at Al Shifa, a warning was given about a specific hospital area. According to him, he would be in grave danger if he approached this area because it was utilized for non-medical activities.
Fear And Hushed Conversations
There was no explicit explanation provided, but the implication was clear. The interviewer probed whether the doctor witnessed non-medical occurrences or followed instructions to avoid the area.
The physician responded that he refrained from entering the area but observed suspicious individuals unrelated to medical purposes frequently entering and exiting a ward linked to a basement. The doctor further revealed that he was warmly received in other hospital areas but observed an atmosphere of fear and hushed conversations when discussing certain topics related to Hamas.
The doctor also emphasized the pervasive sense of collective paranoia in the hospital environment. He added that while hospital staff were somewhat concerned about potential Israeli airstrikes, the greater fear—about 90% of their worry—was related to the threat of persecution by Hamas.
An Encounter With Hamas At Al Shifa
Meanwhile, an Italian journalist revealed that in 2009, following Israel’s Operation Cast Lead against Hamas, he and a group of journalists visited hospitals in Gaza aiming to interview injured members of Fatah. Fatah, a rival Palestinian faction, had been forcibly removed from the coastal enclave by Hamas in 2007.
The journalist mentioned that he observed that Fatah members chose to stay home out of fear rather than remain in the hospital while wounded. He further said he got lost in the expansive Shifa compound before finding himself on an underground level, where he encountered two Hamas men in military clothing, who instructed him to leave.
The journalist said the armed men protected a security door to their underground facilities. Later, multiple Palestinian sources affirmed that Hamas had its command center beneath Shifa Hospital, and Ismail Haniyeh, a Hamas leader, had been hiding there during Operation Cast Lead.
Rafah Crossing Reopens
Meanwhile, a new batch of Canadians seeking to flee the growing bloodshed in Gaza have been permitted to leave the beleaguered region as of Sunday. The General Authority for Crossings and Borders in Gaza updates this list every day.
A message on the authority’s Facebook page instructs individuals who have been cleared to travel to arrive at the border by 7 a.m. local time.