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Gaza’s healthcare capacity down by 70%: Health ministry

Frame grab from a video shows a room at Shifa Hospitla in Gaza City after an Israeli raid on November 15, 2023.

Israel’s savage military campaign has knocked out much of Gaza’s health sector and reduced its clinical capacity by 70 percent, the Ministry of Health in the besieged territory says. 

As a result, Gaza is relying more on field hospitals, which often lack basic services, to treat patients unable to find spots in hospitals, the ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

The ministry appealed to international and human rights organizations “to reveal the fate” of dozens of health personnel kidnapped by Israeli forces from health facilities.

Last month, a prominent Palestinian doctor, Adnan al-Bursh, who worked at Gaza’s Shifa Hospital, died in an Israeli jail after more than four months of detention.

Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported on Tuesday that Iyad Rantisi, 53, a prominent physician from Gaza was killed in November while under interrogation by Israel’s internal spy agency Shin Bet.

Reacting to the news, Gaza’s Government Media Office described the “occupation’s execution of doctor Rantisi inside Israeli prison a horrific crime.” 

The media office has put out a statement about the situation concerning the treatment of Palestinian medical personnel by Israeli forces.

“We call for an international investigation into the crimes of arrest and execution of Palestinian medical personnel by the occupation.”

“We demand the occupation’s release of 310 medical personnel who are being subjected to torture,” it said. “We hold the occupation and the American administration responsible for the lives and safety of medical personnel.”

As of June 7, the World Health Organization (WHO) had documented 476 attacks on healthcare facilities in Gaza, which killed 727 people and injured 933.

The Gaza media office has warned that lack of aid, including food, nutritional supplements and vaccines, has put 3,500 children at risk of dying from malnourishment. 

“We call on the international community and all countries of the free world to condemn this crime, which… violates international law,” it said.

More than 16,000 children have been killed during the Israeli aggression since October, according to the latest estimate by the Palestinian Ministry of Health. 98% of children in Gaza do not have access to safe drinking water.

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