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The European Hospital in Khan Yunis (picured) has increased its bed capacity by 700 in the last two months. Alamy
Hospitals in Gaza

Irish-Palestinian doctor speaks of the dwindling services left in Gazan hospitals

Dr Ahmed El-Mokhallati told Al Jazeera that some staff members can no longer get to the hospital.

AN IRISH-PALESTINIAN DOCTOR has detailed the dwindling amount of support and services available in hospitals inside the bombarded Gaza Strip.

Dublin-born plastic surgeon Ahmed El-Mokhallati has said there is no longer a proper hospital set up in the territory and all hospitals in the north of Gaza have ceased all major operations.

He told Al Jazeera News that in the European Hospital – the hospital in the Khan Yunis province where he currently is working – sometimes only three surgery staff members are on site, while the hospital is suffering from extreme overcrowding.

Fighting and heavy bombardment in Gaza has continued since all ceasefire negotiations reached a standstill, leading to Israel pulling their Mossad negotiators out of talks before they officially concluded.

Israel previously urged civilians to seek safety in the southern part of the territory, however the majority of the shelling and fighting is taking place in the south since battles began again after the ceasefire – leaving people with few places to go.

Since the majority have moved south, the European Hospital in the centre of the Khan Younis province has seen their 200-bed capacity hospital so overrun that its been extended to 1,000 beds, Dr El-Mokhallati told the programme.

“We’ve ended up with no good hospitals operation in Gaza at all,” Dr El-Mokhallati said. “We’re talking about the whole [population] of Gaza are with no hospital with specialities.”

Dr El-Mokhallati said the hospitals are without the equipment to conduct specialist surgeries, while thousands of people need more than one surgery to keep them alive. 

“Everyday, in the morning, you come and you see who has arrived from the team. Whoever is coming from the middle of Gaza can’t reach here as Israeli tanks are blocking roads that are connecting the middle of Gaza to the south,” he said.

He added that those under attack in Khan Yunis, and further south near Rafah, are “scared” to come to work in fear they will not be able to return home to their families.

Brutal fighting continued on Monday in Khan Yunis, as Hamas militants claimed they blew up a house in the southern Gazan city where Israeli soldiers were searching for a tunnel shaft.

AFP correspondents reported night-time strikes and automatic weapons fire in Khan Yunis and bombings that shook several urban areas.

The last death toll from the Gaza health ministry was over 18,000 – mostly women and children. It said on Monday that 32 dead had arrived at Khan Yunis’s Nasser hospital alone in 24 hours.

Last month, Dónal Gorman, a representative of Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) Ireland spoke on the crisis medical situation with The Journal.

He described it as “truly dire” and said there were “horrendous stories” reaching them, including doctors of having to conduct operations and even amputations without adequate anesthetic.

The latest bout of conflict began on 7 October after Hamas, an Islamic militant group who are deemed a terrorist organisation by Israel, the US and the EU, among other powers attacked Israel, killing 1,200 mostly civilians.

Israel’s retaliatory assault, well into its third month, has killed over 18,000 people, also mostly civilians, including thousands of children.

Hamas says it tallies these figures from hospital directors, and they are generally used by international news outlets despite an inability to independently verify them at this time.