Over the past seven hours the Israeli military has shelled a hospital in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip where an injured international and Palestinians are trapped inside. I spoke to Swedish national Fred Ekblad briefly during a 15 minute lull in the fire. He said the hospital was struck continuously since 7:00 pm this evening.
Although Ekblad described his injury as moderate, “I’m bleeding from my head in a few places. The bleeding has almost stopped,” he does have an open wound and is not receiving proper medical care in a facility that is under heavy artillery. When asked why Ekblad wasn’t being treated at the hospital in Beit Hanoun, Israeli activist Neta Golan who has been in touch with the foreign activist said due to the ongoing fire most were taking cover in the building’s corridors, including doctors, taking advantage of what little protection the hallways provided. Golan said the Swedish Embassy and the International Committee for the Red Cross had been notified, yet were not able to secure a medical transport for the young Swede.
Below I’m posting the end of my conversation with Ekblad, before he abruptly ended the call. For the few moments we did speak, I could hear shelling in the background every few seconds, which Ekblad had said was striking the building next to the hospital:
I was standing watching TV, my friends were on the news holding a press conference and a shell from the tank hit the building and broke the glass from the window. The glass shattered from the window and I got it on my head, not only glass but concrete. Fuck, that was a direct hit on the hospital. That was a direct hit. I have to go now.
The ISM also sent a press release earlier this evening on Elkbad and one other international, Charlie Andreasson who is also trapped in the hospital under fire. The Israeli military has held strong the line that hospitals are human shields employed by Hamas to give cover to rocket launchers.
From the ISM
“It’s now chaos, the military is shelling directly at us. There are two patients on the second floor and we think they’re okay, but we can’t move them easily as they’re bed-bound. I’m bleeding from a head wound and there’s another person injured. People are very frightened.” Stated Fred Ekblad, Swedish ISM activist.
At 19:00, Beit Hanoun Hospital was first hit by an Israeli tank shell and the shooting and shelling has continually increased.
This afternoon, Israeli forces destroyed an ambulance in Beit Hanoun, killing one paramedic and critically injuring another.
Israeli forces have attacked three Gazan medical facilities and personnel in the last 24 hours. The first resulted in the destruction of Al Durrah Children’s Hospital in Gaza City last night. A two year-old child in the Intensive Care Unit was killed, and 30 others injured.
Due to previous shelling nearby, Beit Hanoun hospital has evacuated most of its patients to al-Shifa Hospital. Three patients remain in the hospital.
Since Israel began its attack on Gaza, 13 ambulances have been completely destroyed and two paramedics have been killed. Throughout the massacre, medical staff and facilities have been repeatedly targeted.
“Israel’s attacks on Gaza hospitals are ongoing, with those in areas by the separation barrier forced to evacuate their patients, paramedics and other rescue workers are doing what they can under conditions of great risk.” Stated Joe Catron, U.S. International Solidarity Movement activist.
According to the Gazan Ministry of Health, six out of Gaza’s 13 hospitals have already been severely damaged. One, el-Wafa rehabilitation hospital, has been completely destroyed. Two medical clinics have been completely destroyed, seven other clinics have been damaged, 13 medical staff members have been injured, and five have been killed.
The Ministry of Health in Gaza has demanded, “the immediate cessation of Israeli occupation military attacks against medical facilities and personnel in Gaza, and demands that the international community soundly condemn this latest Israeli atrocity, and hold Israel accountable for these war crimes.”