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'We are being killed here': Doctors Without Borders staff, patients caught in crossfire of Israel-Hamas war

International aid organization Doctors Without Borders says its medical staff and patients are facing "relentless violence" in and around Gaza’s Al-Shifa hospital and is calling for an immediate ceasefire to protect civilians.

Gaza health officials said battles continued around hospitals Monday, forcing thousands of Palestinians to flee and stranding critically wounded patients, newborns and their caregivers while supplies dwindle.

The director of Gaza hospitals, Mohammed Zaqout, said Monday 32 wounded people have died at Al-Shifa hospital, including three babies, since the hospital’s emergency generator ran out of fuel Saturday, The Associated Press reported. It was unclear if those were included in the death toll reported by Gaza’s Hamas-run Ministry of Health.

Al-Shifa "is not functioning as a hospital anymore," World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

The Red Cross said it attempted to evacuate around 6,000 patients, staff and displaced people from another hospital, Al-Quds, after it ran out of fuel, but its convoy had to turn back because of shelling and fighting in the region.

Both Israeli and Hamas forces have seized on the plight of hospitals as the war presses on, according to health officials.

Doctors Without Borders, also referred to as Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), said Al-Shifa — the largest health facility in Gaza — was bombed repeatedly throughout the weekend, hitting their maternity and outpatient ward.

"I gather also that the generator was hit in the strike over the weekend," said MSF executive director Joseph Belliveau, in an interview with CTV News Channel.

"The damage to the generator itself would indicate that even if fuel were able to get to that generator again that may not be functional for some time."

As of Monday, 500 staff remain in the Al-Shifa hospital, along with around 2,500 displaced Palestinians sheltering inside the complex, said Zaqout. Around 600 patients also remain, according to Belliveau.

Out of fear that it could end up in the hands of Hamas, Israel has prohibited fuel from entering Gaza while medical and food supplies have entered the Palestinian territory through the Rafah border crossing with Egypt.

Zaqout said 36 newborn babies have not been evacuated from the hospital yet and there has been no co-ordination on moving them.

Israel has said it had offered safe passage to those wanting to leave, but Belliveau contested that claim. "A lot of my doctor colleagues are saying that the patients simply can't leave," he said.

Belliveau said those who attempted to leave were bombed. "My doctor colleagues are choosing to be there with the patients until the end, knowing that it's simply not safe to leave. Where should they go?"

Belliveau said MSF staff are at their wit's end, describing the text he received from a MSF nurse who was sheltering in the basement of the hospital. "We are being killed here. Please do something," Belliveau read.

 Zaqout said Israel's military shelled the oxygen department at Al-Shifa and the hospital is now relying on its remaining oxygen bottles. He said 10 hospitals remain in service in Gaza and they will not be able to continue operating if fuel is not brought in.

Since Hamas' attack on Israel a month ago, more than two-thirds of the territory's population of 2.3 million have already fled their homes. As of last Friday, more than 11,000 Palestinians, two-thirds of them women and minors, have been killed since the war began, according to Gaza's Ministry of Health. About 2,700 people have been reported missing.

Health officials have not updated the toll, citing the difficulty of collecting information.

At least 1,200 people have been killed in Israel, most in Hamas' initial attack. The Israeli Foreign Ministry revised the figure Friday from 1,400 but did not provide a reason.

Israel has agreed to brief daily periods of humanitarian pauses, giving civilians a window to flee ground combat in northern Gaza and head south on foot along two main roads.

Belliveau reiterated that MSF is calling for an immediate and complete ceasefire in Gaza.

"Stop the bombing and stop the violence on hospitals and civilians that is happening every hour, every minute.”

With files from the Associated Press Top Stories

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