The World Health Organization (WHO) lost contact Sunday with Al-Shifa Hospital, the largest hospital in Northern Gaza, with the latest reports stating the hospital had been surrounded by Israeli tanks. The Palestinian Red Crescent also reported Monday that another large hospital in the area, Al-Quds, has been surrounded by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), with the hospital staff attempting to evacuate patients.In a statement, WHO wrote:WHO has lost communication with its contacts in Al-Shifa Hospital in northern Gaza. As horrifying reports of the hospital facing repeated attacks continue to emerge, we assume our contacts joined tens of thousands of displaced people who had sought shelter on the hospital grounds and are fleeing the area. There are reports that some people who fled the hospital have been shot at, wounded and even killed.WHO also claimed that since Friday, Al-Shifa Hospital has been attacked multiple times, with the intensive care unit suffering severe damage and an intubated patient dying when the electricity was cut. Hospital staff reported to WHO that they are using up the last of their food and water stores and are in danger of ventilators and incubators shutting down due to a lack of fuel for the hospital generators.The Red Crescent released similar reports about conditions in Al-Quds Hospital, writing, “Israeli tanks and military stationed near Al-Quds Hospital from all directions. Bombardment is ongoing; while the hospital preparations are underway to evacuate patients and their families, and medical personnel.”A spokesperson for the Israeli government told CNN that the IDF is currently engaged in “intense fighting” against Hamas near Al-Shifa Hospital. An IDF spokesperson claimed Sunday that:Last night, we offered the Shifa Hospital fuel. During the course of the night we prepared 300 liters of fuel for them, (and placed it) 300 meters south of the hospital. We spoke to the hospital administrator, and are still waiting for the hospital to collect the fuel. Hamas leadership, via the Hamas Ministry of Health, is preventing and placing pressure on the hospital not to collect the fuel. The hospital also requested to consider assistance with safely evacuating the premature babies. We also answered this request and are ready to help. Hamas leadership, alongside the Hamas Ministry of Health, is preventing this and placing pressure on the Shifa hospital (not to accept our help). The IDF also released a statement Monday on Al-Quds Hospital, writing:During operations carried out by the 188th Brigade, RPG fire and small arms fire were directed at the soldiers from the direction of the Al-Quds Hospital in Gaza City. The shooting was carried out by a terrorist squad that had embedded itself within a group of civilians at the entrance of the hospital. A Palestinian Health Ministry spokesperson responded to Israel’s claim that it is allowing an evacuation of Al-Shifa Hospital, stating, “This is not an evacuation but an expulsion at gunpoint.” The spokesperson went on to claim that 12 patients have died in the hospital so far, including two newborns. There have been reports from doctors on the ground that appear to corroborate some of the Palestinian Health Ministry’s claims, including statements to NBC from Dr. Ahmed El Mokhallalati, a plastic surgeon at the Al-Shifa Hospital, who claims that he does not know of any patients who have been able to safely evacuate. El Mokhallalati also claimed that newborns have been moved to temperature-controlled operating rooms and that the staff is expecting to continue to lose more as the siege continues.WHO previously raised concerns about IDF attacks near hospitals, particularly Al-Shifa. The Red Crescent has called the bombing near Al-Shifa a war crime. There was a previous blast at Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in October, which the IDF blamed Palestinian militants for and the Palestinian Health Ministry blamed an IDF airstrike for. It has still not been independently confirmed who is responsible.The most recent hostilities between Israel and Hamas began on October 7 when Hamas killed hundreds of Israeli civilians and took multiple hostages. Israel subsequently declared war on Hamas on October 9.

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