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Gaza patients 'in streets without care': Palestinian official

A child reacts as people salvage belongings amid the rubble of a damaged building following strikes on Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, on November 12, 2023. (Photo by AFP)

A Palestinian official has warned that patients are out "in the streets without care” in the Gaza Strip and their lives are at risk, as Israel continues its deadly bombing campaign in the besieged enclave.

Muhammad Zaqout, director-general of Gaza’s hospital's department made the remarks on Sunday, after the "forced evacuations" of two pediatric hospitals in Gaza earlier in the day.

"The forced evacuations of Al-Nasr and Rantisi pediatric hospitals have left sick people on the streets without care" in Gaza City, he said, adding that "We have completely lost contact with the caregivers" at these two hospitals.

This came after the Israeli military claimed it had opened an additional route to facilitate the safe passage of civilians to the south of the Gaza Strip.

Zaqut further described as "catastrophic" the situation inside Gaza's al-Shifa hospital, saying "no one can enter or leave it" amid Israel’s heavy bombardment.

"We must save premature babies," Zaqut said, a day after two premature babies lost their lives after the neonatal intensive care unit at the besieged area’s largest medical facility stopped working due to a lack of electricity.

Zaqut also noted that the Gaza health ministry is "no longer able" to report on the dead and injured due to lack of access after al-Shifa officials said dozens of bodies have been abandoned near the hospital and in its courtyard.

More than half of hospitals in Gaza have closed down in recent weeks as Israel continues to refuse to lift a crippling blockade on the enclave.

Al-Shifa has been under siege and a target of fierce Israeli attacks since the start of the Israeli war on Gaza.

Israel waged the war on Gaza on October 7 after the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas carried out the surprise Operation Al-Aqsa Storm into the occupied territories in response to the occupying regime’s intensified crimes against the Palestinian people.

According to the Gaza-based health ministry, at least 11,000 Palestinians have been killed in the strikes, most of them women and children, while nearly 27,490 others have been injured.

Tel Aviv has also imposed a “complete siege” on Gaza, cutting off fuel, electricity, food and water to the more than two million Palestinians living there.

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