19 July 2024


Sick and injured forced to leave as Al Ahli Hospital shut down

Damage from air strikes in the Gaza Strip. Picture: Caritas Jerusalem.

Jenan Taylor

9 July 2024

Sick and injured patients, staff and people sheltering at Al Ahli Arab Anglican Hospital in Gaza have been thrown into jeopardy after the Israeli army forced it to shut on Sunday.

The Diocese of Jerusalem reported that the army ordered an immediate evacuation of everyone in and around the hospital vicinity amid escalating military activity.

The diocese said in a statement staff and those relying on Al Ahli’s care had to leave the safety of the hospital premises as a result.

It said the hospital was now out of operation when there was significant demand for its services, and where there were few other options for urgent medical care.

Read more: Gaza’s al-Ahli Hospital shut down by force

Anglican Overseas Aid Disaster Response and Resilience Coordinator Tim Hartley told The Melbourne Anglican Al Ahli was the only remaining clinic where surgeries could be conducted in Gaza.

Mr Hartley said there was no way of knowing at this stage where patients would be able to get emergency and critical treatment and where they would be evacuated to.

He said the hospital had been receiving 300 patients a day, even though it was an 80-bed facility.

According to the Diocese of Jerusalem an ambulance was also fired at enroute to the hospital and there was no information about its driver and the patients it was transporting.

Anglican Archbishop Hosam Naoum condemned the forced closure, pleaded for an end to the strikes, and demanded all parties agreed to an immediate ceasefire.

“In a time of warfare and great suffering it is essential that emergency healthcare services are maintained to treat the injured and the dying,” Archbishop Naoum said.

“We appeal to the Israeli forces to permit us to continue our sacred ministry of medical care and healing.”

Read more: Gaza hospital in desperate need of supplies after attack 

Mr Hartley said the hospital almost ceased to operate in December 2023, but staff managed to keep it going.

He said the hospital’s director, Suheila Tarazi saw it as a beacon of hope in Gaza, which was why she was determined it would keep functioning then.

Mr Hartley believed the staff would be doing all they could to reopen the hospital.

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