The al-Ahli al-Arabi hospital, which was bombed by Israel on Tuesday night, killing at least 471 Palestinians, was one of several hospitals in the Gaza Strip to be warned by Israel to clear out, or face being hit by air strikes.
At the time of the devastating strike, the Anglican-run hospital was providing treatment and shelter to hundreds of Palestinians wounded and displaced by Israel’s 12-day war on the besieged enclave.
The hospital had received threats from Israel to either evacuate or be bombed, according to the Palestinian health ministry.
The ministry told Middle East Eye the Israeli army told all hospitals in northern Gaza and the central Gaza City last week to clear out. The Palestinian health ministry rejected the threats and refused to leave vulnerable patients.
Gaza-based doctor Sohaib al-Hems said staff of al-Awda Hospital in Jabalia and the Public Aid Hospitals in Gaza City refused to leave.
The director of al-Awda hospital said it would be “impossible” to transport the sick and wounded.
Even in the south—where Israeli authorities had forcibly ejected more than one million Palestinians to—hospitals were given orders to clear out or face air strikes.
Among those was the Kuwait Speciality Hospital, which received Israeli orders to clear out but whose staff also refused to leave.
In total, at least 22 hospitals have received Israeli threats since 7 October. Here is a list of hospitals in areas ordered by the military to clear out, in addition to two hospitals that received similar warnings in the south.
- Kamal Adwan Hospital—northern Gaza
- Al-Awda Hospital—northern Gaza
- Indonesian Hospital—northern Gaza
- Balsam Hospital—northern Gaza
- Karama Hospital Gaza—northern Gaza
- Al Shifa Hospital—Gaza City
- Al-Quds Hospital—Gaza City
- Jordanian Field Hospital in Gaza—Gaza City
- El-Dorra Paediatric Hospital—Gaza City
- Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital—Gaza City
- Al-Wafa Medical Centre—Gaza City
- Al-Ahli al-Arabi Baptist Hospital—Gaza City
- Public Aid Hospital—Gaza City
- Al Rantissi—Alnasr Hospital for Children—Gaza City
- St John Eye Hospital—Gaza City
- Patient Friend’s Benevolent Society—Gaza City
- Assahaba Medical Complex Society—Gaza City
- Gaza Eye Hospital—Gaza City
- Jenin Hospital—Gaza City
- Gaza Psychiatric Hospital—Gaza City
- European Gaza Hospital—southern Gaza
- Kuwait Speciality Hospital—southern Gaza
At least 37 Palestinian doctors and paramedics had been killed by Israel in Gaza before Tuesday night’s attack, according to the Palestinian health and interior ministries.
A total of 33 hospitals and clinics and 23 ambulances have been put out of service by Israeli strikes, the ministries said.
Even before the war began, Gaza’s hospitals had been struggling to cope under the restrictions of Israel’s 15-year blockade of the enclave.
While tens of thousands of patients are granted medical referrals outside of Gaza by the Palestinian Authority each year, almost a third of them are denied exit permits by Israel.
Now, during the war, hospitals are close to breaking point under Israel’s unrelenting bombing campaign and the complete seige that has cut off electricity, food, water and other resources from the enclave.
Some hospitals, such as Turkish-Palestinian Friendship Hospital, Gaza’s only oncology hospital, were forced to announce their closure because of fuel shortages.