A doctor at a hospital in the southern Gaza Strip told The Daily Beast that he and his colleagues were continuing to work on patients despite an evacuation call from the Israeli military and the fact that his own home was reduced to rubble.
The hospital is in Gaza’s supposedly safe zone, where Israel has ordered civilians to seek shelter while it strikes Hamas targets in the north.
Dr. Suahib Al Hamss told The Daily Beast via voicemail on Monday that his wife and children were recovered alive from the rubble of their home and taken to another hospital for treatment.
“Although my family is safe, all the people of Gaza are our family and they are all dying. And the dying are still our families, our wives and our children,” he said.
“We are still working at the hospital. We constantly have dozens of injured people. Yesterday there were numerous injuries and many deaths. The medical staff has not left the hospital for a long time. The hospital is full of patients.”
Al Hamss, who went public with Israel’s apparent threat to attack the hospital On Sunday, he said he did not believe his home was directly targeted.
Al Hamss said the order to evacuate on Sunday was given through a direct call to hospital management, even though the hospital is in Rafah in the south of the Gaza Strip, the part of the territory where Palestinians have been told to flee by Israel.
The Kuwaiti Special Hospital sounded the alarm on their Facebook page on Sundaythat Israel had given them a two-hour warning to evacuate the hospital. Dr. Jamal Hams, medical director of the Kuwaiti hospital in southern Gaza, told the BBC that they had been given the order to evacuate.
22 hospitals in the north of the Gaza Strip were ordered to evacuate New York Times has reported. However, this is believed to be the first incident where a hospital in the southern zone has been ordered to do the same.
The World Health Organization has condemned the hospital evacuation orders.
On Sunday, the doctor told The Daily Beast in an audio message that there were fighter jets above the hospital, adding, “You can probably hear them.”
An apparently distraught Al Hamss accused Israeli forces of breaking “all international laws” by attacking hospitals.
The messages are seen by critics of Israel as further evidence that the country is threatening attacks on hospitals, which would be a violation of the Geneva Convention. Israel is preparing for what is expected to be a massive ground attack on Gaza in retaliation for Hamas’ horrific terrorist attacks on Israel last week, in which over 1,400 people, including many women and children, were brutally murdered and at least 199 were taken hostage.
Israel has argued that by warning people in areas that could be bombed and attacked, it is taking unprecedented steps to minimize civilian casualties.
Dr. Khalid Dawas, the director of gastrointestinal surgery at University College London Hospital, forwarded Al Hamss’ messages to The Daily Beast.
“I have Dr. Met Suhaib personally in June,” he said. “I’ve been sending him messages over the last week just asking him if he’s OK, to which I’ve received some very emotional responses. But the message he sent today (Sunday) was completely different, very panicked and said they had been given two hours to get out. The hospital is in Rafa, that’s where people should go.”
The Daily Beast reached out to the Israel Defense Forces office for comment.