Home / News / Health officials say 5 patients died after oxygen ran out at hospital in Gaza captured by Israeli forces – Chicago Tribune

Health officials say 5 patients died after oxygen ran out at hospital in Gaza captured by Israeli forces – Chicago Tribune


RAFAH, Gaza Strip — Five patients in intensive care at the main hospital in southern Gaza, which was stormed by Israeli soldiers, died when oxygen was cut off, causing chaos for hundreds of staff and injuries inside, health officials said Friday. Soldiers were searching inside the complex, where the military said it believed the remains of hostages kidnapped by Hamas might be found.

The raid came after soldiers laid siege to Nasser Hospital in the southern city of Khan Younis for nearly a week, with staff, patients and others struggling under heavy fire and running out of dwindling supplies, including food and water. The Israeli military announced Friday that it had detained dozens of people from the facility, including people Hamas claims took part in the Oct. 7 attack on Israel.

Also Friday, an attacker opened fire at a bus stop at a busy intersection in southern Israel, killing two people and wounding four others, before being shot dead by a bystander. No liability claims immediately emerged.

Later Friday, Israeli security forces arrived at the Jerusalem home of a Palestinian man previously linked to the attack on social media.

Meanwhile, talks on a ceasefire in Gaza appear to have stalled, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday pushed back hard against the US’s post-war vision, particularly calls to establish a Palestinian state. After his overnight meeting with President Joe Biden, Netanyahu wrote on channel X that Israel would not accept “international orders regarding a permanent solution with the Palestinians.”

If other countries unilaterally recognized the state of Palestine, he said, it would give a “reward to terrorism.” Netanyahu has repeatedly rejected the creation of a Palestinian state.

Netanyahu has vowed to continue the offensive until Hamas is destroyed and scores of people taken hostage during the fighters’ Oct. 7 offensive are released, and to expand the offensive to the Gaza city of Rafah, near Egypt. The White House said Biden again warned Netanyahu in the phone call not to continue the military operation in Rafah before preparing a “credible and feasible plan” to ensure the safety of Palestinian civilians.

According to hospital officials, at least 12 people, including nine from the same family, were killed in two Israeli airstrikes on Rafah overnight.

With no sign of the war ending, the risk of a wider conflict has increased as Israel and Lebanon’s Hezbollah battle group engage in the deadliest clash along the border since the start of the Israel-Hamas war. Israel launched airstrikes on southern Lebanon for a second day on Thursday, after killing 10 civilians and three Hezbollah fighters in response to a rocket attack on Wednesday that killed an Israeli soldier and injured several others.

Nasser Hospital was the last in a series of hospitals that Israeli forces surrounded and raided during the war, claiming that Hamas was using it for military purposes. The attacks have gutted Gaza’s health sector, which struggles to treat a steady stream of people injured in daily bombardments.

The military said Thursday it had “credible intelligence” that Hamas was holding hostages there and that the hostages’ remains may still be inside. On Friday, the military said its soldiers continued to search the hospital but did not report finding any bodies.

He reported that they arrested 20 people on suspicion of being involved in the October 7 attack, and dozens of people were interrogated. He also said soldiers found grenades and mortar rounds and that fighters fired mortars from inside the hospital a month ago. The allegations could not be independently verified.

A released hostage told The Associated Press last month that he and more than two dozen other captives were being held at Nasser Hospital.

Gaza’s Ministry of Health said that during the search, soldiers ordered more than 460 staff, patients and their relatives to move into an old building that was not equipped to treat patients. The ministry said that all six patients and three babies in the incubator remained in the intensive care unit, where there was no one to care for them.

On Friday, the ministry said five of these patients died because oxygen supply was cut off due to a power outage. “The Israeli occupation is responsible for the lives of patients and staff because the facility is now completely under its control,” the ministry said. The soldiers set up in the hospital’s maternity ward and brought male patients there, apparently for questioning, the statement said.

According to health officials, Israeli soldiers, tanks and snipers have surrounded Nasser Hospital for at least a week; Food, water and supplies are running out inside, and the fire coming from outside causes the death of many people inside. Hours before soldiers moved into the hospital on Thursday, Israeli fire killed one patient and injured six others, staff said.

In a statement on Friday, Hamas denied that its fighters used Nasser Hospital for military purposes and said the accusations were “lies circulated to justify war crime.”

International law prohibits targeting medical facilities, but these protections could be lost if they are used for military purposes. Even then, Israel had to take precautions and comply with the principles of proportionality, the UN Human Rights Office said, adding that “as an occupying power” Israel had a duty to maintain medical facilities.

The war began when Hamas fighters emerged from Gaza on October 7 and attacked large numbers of Israeli communities, killing approximately 1,200 people and taking 250 hostages. During the ceasefire in November, more than 100 captives were released in exchange for 240 Palestinian prisoners. There are approximately 130 hostages in Gaza and a quarter of them are believed to be dead.

Israel responded to Hamas’ attack with one of the deadliest and most destructive military operations in recent history.

At least 28,775 Palestinians, mostly women and children, were killed and more than 68,500 were injured, according to the Gaza Health Ministry, which does not distinguish between civilians and combatants. Nearly 80 percent of the population has been displaced from their homes and a quarter are starving to death due to the worsening humanitarian disaster. Large areas in the north of Gaza, the first target of the attack, were completely destroyed.

Israeli media reported that CIA Director William Burns flew to Israel to meet with Netanyahu to discuss ceasefire efforts.

Hamas has said it will not release all remaining captives until Israel ends its offensive, withdraws and releases Palestinian detainees, including senior fighters.

Netanyahu rejected these demands and said Israel would soon expand its offensive towards Gaza’s southernmost city, Rafah. More than half of Gaza’s 2.3 million population took refuge in Rafah after fleeing conflict elsewhere.


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