The arrest of hospital director Muhammad Abu Salmiya and other senior doctors marks a significant escalation in the Israeli army’s attack on Gaza.
The Israeli army has detained Muhammad Abu Salmiya, the director of al-Shifa Hospital, along with several senior doctors, according to Khalid Abu Samra, a department chief at the hospital.
Al-Shifa Hospital, the largest medical complex in Gaza, has become a significant point of focus in the ongoing Israeli assault on Gaza.
Last week, the Israeli army conducted a raid on the hospital, accusing Hamas fighters of using an underground tunnel network beneath the facility to launch attacks.
These allegations have been staunchly denied by both Hamas and hospital officials, and Israel has failed to provide any evidence to back the allegations.
On Wednesday, a United Nations humanitarian office reported that the Israeli army obstructed an ambulance convoy. The convoy, tasked with transporting 190 wounded and sick patients from al-Shifa Hospital to southern Gaza, faced an almost 20-hour delay due to stringent checks at the Israeli military checkpoint.
The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) highlighted that the delay gravely endangered the lives of those in need of urgent medical care.
Furthermore, the PRCS revealed that three paramedics and a companion of a wounded patient were detained for over three hours in harsh conditions during this process.
The convoy, comprising 14 ambulances, two UN buses, and several medical teams from al-Shifa Hospital, eventually managed to transfer the patients to hospitals in the south.
Al-Shifa Hospital’s importance extends beyond its medical services.
Known as the “House of Healing,” it has been a central part of Gaza since British rule. Established as a hospital in 1946, al-Shifa has endured numerous wars and periods of Israeli occupation.
Recently, it faced severe shortages of medicine and fuel, exacerbated by Israeli military actions that damaged its medical supplies.
The hospital, often described as the beating heart of Gaza, also serves as a nerve center for the Gaza government’s administrative activities.
Amid the chaos, health ministry officials have conducted press conferences, and the government’s media ministry has operated from within its walls.
Al-Shifa maintained its internet connectivity even when the rest of Gaza was cut off, becoming a crucial communication hub for journalists and hospital staff who have been actively countering Israeli claims.
The death toll in the Gaza Strip climbed to 14,532. This includes more than 6,000 children and 4,000 women, as reported by the media office in Gaza on Wednesday.
The casualties include 205 medical staff members, encompassing doctors, nurses, and paramedics. Additionally, the Israeli assault has claimed the lives of 25 civil defense team members and 53 journalists.
In terms of injuries, the total has surpassed 35,000, with over three-quarters of these being children and women.
The infrastructure damage in Gaza is also severe, with 102 government buildings destroyed. The educational sector has been particularly hit hard, with 266 schools damaged, 67 of which are now unusable.