Bulldozers crush Gazans sheltering outside hospital

Published December 18, 2023
BULLDOZER tracks are seen in the area where tents were erected outside the Kamal Adwan Hospital by displaced people. Palestinian authorities have accused Israel of razing the area as people slept.—Reuters
BULLDOZER tracks are seen in the area where tents were erected outside the Kamal Adwan Hospital by displaced people. Palestinian authorities have accused Israel of razing the area as people slept.—Reuters

• Kamal Adwan Hospital in northern Gaza was raided by IDF last week, wounded were relocated outside its premises
• Footage shows tents, belongings razed; animals gnawing at limbs of those ‘buried alive’
• PA health minister calls for probe, Bilawal wants Tel Aviv held accountable for ‘war crimes’

GAZA: The Israeli military has bulldozed displaced Palestinians who were camped outside the Kamal Adwan Hospital in northern Gaza, killing scores of civilians, including women and children, who were still sleeping in their tents when the demolition occurred.

In what was once the courtyard of the Kamal Adwan Hospital in the northern Gaza city of Beit Lahiya, Palestinians wade through the rubble, sear­ching for corpses, AFP reported.

The sound of one of them sobbing breaks out while he wraps a body to prepare for burial.

In a statement on Saturday, Hamas accused Israeli troops of having carried out a “horrific massacre” inside the hospital where they said Israeli forces “fired at patient rooms”, arrested staff, and destroyed tents of displaced people with bulldozers.

Earlier, the health ministry in Gaza said that Israeli troops had expelled hundreds of people taking refuge inside the hospital, and ordered the wounded patients and medical staff to relocate to the hospital grounds.

A UN-OCHA report from Saturday noted that the hospital was reportedly hosting approximately 3,000 IDPs, in addition to patients and medical staff. IDF reportedly detained 1,000-1,200 Palestinians, mostly men and boys aged between 16 and 65 years old, including medical staff, patients and displaced persons.

Several media outlets, including TRT World and Al Jazeera, reported that Isra­eli had “buried alive” dozens of displaced, sick, and wounded people in the vicinity of Kamal Adwan Hospital, citing doctors and other eyewitnesses.

Multiple videos shared on social media also appear to show people crushed under the rubble in front of the Kamal Adwan Hospital, with animals gnawing on the limbs of the dead.

Palestinian Authority’s Health Minister Mai al-Kaila has urged an immediate investigation.

“The world must take serious action to uncover the details of this case, and not take lightly or remain silent about the information coming from the Gaza Strip,” a press release by the ministry added.

The hospital had been targeted by Israeli raids last week, prompting World Health Organi­sation chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to say he was “extremely worried” about the situation at the hospital.

Although the Israeli military claimed the hospital was being used as a Hamas “command and control centre” and that soldiers had detained around 80 fighters, Reuters reported that some 70 medical staff were picked up from the hospital earlier in the week.

‘Deliberately targeted’

According to accounts provided to Al Jazeera, witnesses have asserted that civilians were intentionally singled out.

“People were deliberately buried alive using bulldozers. Those responsible for this crime must be held accountable and brought to justice, facing prosecution in the international criminal court,” one witness stated.

Al Jazeera’s Hani

Mahmoud, reporting from Rafah in southern Gaza on Sunday morning, reported that the bulldozers extensively damaged the hospital’s facilities, crushing people and their tents in the courtyard. Approxi­mately 20 individuals were reportedly crushed and buried under the debris.

She pointed out how the raids carried out at the Kamal Adwan Hospital were similar to other hospitals struck earlier in the Israeli offensive. Al-Shifa Hospital, the enclave’s largest medical facility located in north Gaza, remains paralysed after it was previously targeted by Israeli forces.

Bulldozer tracks

Mahmud Assaf, 50, came to the hospital from Jabalia with a cart to recover two of his relatives’ children who had been patients at the facility for 10 days.

“I found Hadi paralysed… lying on his back under the chairs. Everything was on top of him,” he told AFP, speaking about one of the children who appeared barely conscious and severely burned.

Assaf said he wanted to take away the children quickly now that the army had withdrawn, but was shocked by the “massive, indescribable destruction” he found at the hospital.

“Patients are everywhere. There is nothing left fit for life,” he said. “(The children have) cases of serious burns without having received anything to eat, drink, or treatment,” he added.

The courtyard in Kamal Adwan is full of the clearly visible tracks of Israeli tanks and bulldozers.

Outside the courtyard, Abu Mohammed, who came to look for his son, stood crying. “They demolished the building. They killed the doctors. Even the doctors were not spared. They left nothing behind,” he said.

“My son is here. I don’t know how I will find him,” Abu Mohammed said, pointing to the rubble. “Where are the Arab countries? Where is Sisi?” referring to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of neighbouring Egypt, a key mediator between the Israelis and Palestinians.

“We’re fed up. They (Israelis) have been killing us since 1948 (the year of Israel’s founding)… Let them kill us all so that we can rest instead of this torture.”


The US-based Council on American-Islamic Relations has called on the United Nations to investigate reports that Israeli forces in Gaza bulldozed medical tents with injured Palestinians inside, allegedly burying civilians alive.

“The horrifying reports that forces of the far-right Israeli government bulldozed medical tents in Gaza and buried Palestinian civilians alive, among other war crimes, must be investigated by an independent, international tribunal,” said CAIR National Deputy Director Edward Ahmed Mitchell.

“Since [the American] government has not taken concrete action to investigate or stop the other war crimes Netanyahu’s government has committed during its campaign of ethnic cleansing and genocide, the international community must do so.”

“Such relentless aggression against civilians and the systematic destruction of healthcare infrastructure is a flagrant violation of human rights and international law. It is imperative for the international community to unite in holding Israel accountable for these repeated acts of aggression, which amount to war crimes,” Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Chairman PPP wrote on his X (formerly Twitter) account.

Published in Dawn, December 18th, 2023



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