The Bombing of the Baptist (Al-Ahli Al-Arabi) Hospital in Gaza is the Worst Attack on Healthcare in the 21st Century

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 17th, 2023

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Samantha Kupferman, +1 202-215-9620

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The Bombing of the Baptist (Al-Ahli Al-Arabi) Hospital in Gaza is the Worst Attack on Healthcare in the 21st Century 

At least 500 people have reportedly been killed in a the bombing of a Palestinian hospital

GAZA CITY – At least 500 people have been killed in the Israeli bombing of Baptist Hospital in Gaza City according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. This is the worse attack on healthcare since the beginning of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Hundreds of Palestinians had taken refuge in al-Ahli and other hospitals in Gaza City in past days, hoping they would be spared bombardment after Israel ordered all residents of the city and surrounding areas to evacuate to the southern Gaza Strip.

“The bombing of the Baptist Hospital is the worst attack on a medical facility in the 21st century. Its cruelty and death toll of innocent patients, civilians, and the healthcare workers trying to save them is staggering” said Dr. Zaher Sahloul, president of MedGlobal, who witnessed many attacks on healthcare in Ukraine, Yemen, and in his homeland, Syria, by the Assad regime and Russia. “Bombing hospitals is against international law. It is a war crime. It undermines medical neutrality and the 150 years old Geneva Conventions, and deprives a distressed local Palestinian community from access to healthcare. It compounds trauma in the Gaza strip, sending the message that nowhere is safe, not even inside a hospital.” 

MedGlobal’s lead physician in Gaza, Dr. Hussam Abu Safiya, currently working from Kamal Adwan hospital spoke to the severity of the situation saying: “We are overwhelmed. We are struggling to help the victims. We can’t deal with the large number of deaths and injuries. Most victims are women and children sleeping in the hospital. We expect more hospitals to be bombed. There is no safe place in Gaza.” 

Before this attack, and according to the World Health Organization, there were 43 violent attacks on healthcare in Gaza since October 7, including 26 attacks on medical facilities and 15 attacks on ambulances, that led to 20 deaths and 29 injuries. 

MedGlobal team and staff are safe. They are struggling to continue their work in the midst of a full blown war where there is no safe place in Gaza. 

Since 2018, MedGlobal has been sending volunteer medical teams to help build healthcare capacity among our Palestinian colleagues and has been providing primary and secondary healthcare by supporting hospitals, clinics, dialysis centers and mobile clinics in partnership with the local community.

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MedGlobal is a humanitarian nonprofit organization that provides emergency response and health programs to build resilience among vulnerable communities around the world.