“Dogs entered Al-Shifa Hospital and mauled the bodies of the deceased,” the director of the Ministry of Health in Gaza said.
Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and United States President Joe Biden on Sunday discussed the ever-escalating situation in Gaza and the urgent mission to secure the release of captives held by Hamas.
In the call, Sheikh Tamim stressed the urgent need for an immediate ceasefire to stem the ongoing bloodshed and shield civilians in the Gaza Strip, the Amiri Diwan said.
“The amir stressed the necessity of an immediate ceasefire, to spare the bloodshed, protect the civilians in Gaza, and the permanent opening of the Rafah crossing to ensure the sustainable flow of relief convoys and humanitarian aid to the Palestinian brethren in the besieged Gaza Strip,” the statement read.
With regards to the captives held, the two leaders concurred on the imperative to release all hostages without further delays, the White House statement on Sunday read.
The Qatari leader went on to emphasise Doha’s consistent diplomatic efforts to de-escalate the crisis, particularly “its efforts to release the hostages and open the Rafah crossing to foreigners and relief aid, appreciating the role of the United States of America in that context.”
As of Monday morning, Israeli occupation forces (IOF) have killed at least 11,180 Palestinians, including more than 4,500 children.
Qatar, which hosts a Hamas political office, has taken the lead in mediating discussions between the group and Israeli authorities, specifically focusing on the hostage situation.
Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security adviser, highlighted on CNN’s ‘State of the Union’ that active negotiations involving Qatar, Egypt, the US, and Israel are currently underway to secure the release of more captives.
The Middle East’s envoy for Biden is reportedly heading to Qatar this week as part of a regional tour, four American and Israeli officials told Axios on Saturday.
Biden’s senior Middle East adviser Brett McGurk is scheduled to first visit Israel on Tuesday before heading to Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Qatar, the sources said.
McGurk’s visit in Doha comes days after a stopover by CIA Director William Burns in Qatar on Thursday, in which he reportedly met with Qatar’s Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani.
Last week, Hamas confirmed it has 242 captives and said more than 60 have been killed by Israel bombardment of Gaza.
Also last week, Hamas said it was close to releasing 12 additional foreign captives from Gaza, but blamed Israel of obstructing the process with its ongoing bombardment.
Then on Thursday, Al-Qassam issued two videos of captives—a 77-year-old woman and a 13-year-old boy—and confirmed it was willing to release both of them on humanitarian grounds on the condition that Israel meets “appropriate measures”.
Some of the proposals currently on the table of negotiations include a possible deal to release some 80 women and children from Hamas, Axios reported.
However, this would be in exchange for the release of Palestinian women and children behind Israeli bars, mostly in the occupied West Bank, Israeli officials told the American outlet. The officials added that the deal is likely to potentially include allowing the entry of fuel into Gaza.
So far, Netanyahu has rejected all forms of a ceasefire without the return of captives, including Washington’s calls for “humanitarian pauses”.
Biden was asked last week about frustrations over Netanyahu’s delays in implementing a “humanitarian pause”, to which he responded by saying: “It’s taken a little longer than I hoped.”
Meanwhile, rights organisations have emphasised that every passing second holds immense importance, and the conditions in Gaza are deteriorating continuously.
World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Sunday that they have managed to retrieve communication with healthcare workers at the Al-Shifa hospital in northern Gaza following a blackout.
“Regrettably, the hospital is not functioning as a hospital anymore,” Tedros said on X.
The Al-Shifa hospital complex, the largest in the region, has ceased operations due to a fuel shortage.
The occupying state has intensified attacks against health facilities and medics on the ground have confirmed Israeli tanks and soldiers have been shooting at civilians attempting to flee hospitals, despite carrying white flags.
On Sunday, a harrowing Al Jazeera Mubasher report citing the director of the Ministry of Health in Gaza as saying: “Dogs entered Al-Shifa Hospital and mauled the bodies of the deceased.”
“The hospital turned into a large morgue and more than 100 bodies were dumped on the ground,” the ministry added.
Israel’s relentless bombardment has now pushed 20 of 36 hospitals in the Strip “out of service,” according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the health sector has collapsed.
On Saturday, reports confirmed two out of 39 premature babies who were kept alive in incubators died due to the absence of oxygen and electricity.
“Israel’s claims that we refused to receive fuel are misleading and have no basis. The medical staff at Al-Shifa live on water and dates,” the health ministry added.