Largest hospital in central Gaza on brink of shutdown due to lack of fuel

The largest hospital serving central Gaza faces imminent shutdown because it is running out of power after Israel’s military assault in Rafah severely limited entry of fuel for generators, the Health Ministry in Gaza said Thursday.

The ministry said Thursday afternoon that Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in the central town of Deir al-Balah would have to stop operations within two hours. Later, after nightfall, the hospital appeared largely blacked out in Associated Press footage, although it was not clear if it had shut down.

The ministry said the hospital was currently treating more than 600 patients and wounded people and that some 650 other kidney dialysis patients rely on treatment there – warning that their lives could be threatened if the hospital closes.

Losing Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital would leave only two hospitals operating in Deir al-Balah, according to the U.N., at a time when the town has been flooded by Palestinians fleeing Rafah. Across Gaza, only about a third of its original 36 hospitals still function, and those only partially.

The hospital received 3,000 liters of fuel on Wednesday but needs 5,000 liters a day to operate, the Health Ministry said.

On May 6, Israeli troops seized the Rafah border crossing into Egypt, the main entry point for fuel into Gaza.

The Rafah crossing has been closed since the Israeli seizure. Israel has asked Egypt to coordinate with it over the entry of aid trucks. Egypt has refused, fearing the Israeli seizure will become permanent, and says Palestinians must be allowed to run the crossing.


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