While the fighting between the Israeli army and Hamas, which began after the October 7 terror attacks in Israel, is concentrated in the northern Gaza Strip, hospitals in the area are now, according to the Palestinian movement, "out of service."

MSF warned on Sunday (November 12th) that hospitals in Gaza City could become "a morgue", while the UN said its humanitarian operations would "cease within 48 hours" due to a lack of fuel.

The situation is particularly dire at al-Shifa Hospital, the largest hospital complex in the Palestinian territory, which is now under siege by Israeli tanks.

The Arabic-language branch of France 24 contacted Mohammed Abou Salmiya, the director of the hospital, by phone to take stock of the situation in his hospital, which houses thousands of civilians who have fled the aerial bombardment.

France 24 - Hamas announced on Monday that all hospitals in the northern Gaza Strip were "out of service." What is the situation in your hospital?

Mohammed Abu Salmiya: Now, when everything has broken down, we can no longer speak of a hospital. They are nothing more than walls inside which people die for lack of care. It's no longer a hospital, it's a mass grave. Since this morning, due to the lack of oxygen, seven people have died: three of them in intensive care, and another in the operating room. Every moment, every minute, risks increasing the number of deaths. Our medical staff is now totally unable to provide any care to patients, to any injuries, to any children, for anything. Al-Shifa hospital is now without electricity, water or oxygen. Right now, a little girl with a heart condition is fighting death every moment because we don't have enough oxygen for her. I saw it with my own eyes, if we still had the internet, I would have sent the videos of this little girl to the whole world. Everything is at a standstill, even the hospital's blood bank is no longer functioning. No wounded or sick person in need of blood can receive it.

What is the current security situation around the hospital? Is it the target of bombing?

There was no direct shelling of the hospital this morning. Yesterday, the cardiology department was hit. In the previous days, it was the turn of the intensive care unit and the obstetrics and gynaecology department. Today there is massive shelling next to the hospital, which is surrounded on all sides by tanks. No one can leave or enter the hospital. Some of the displaced tried their luck, but were shot at. There are close to 5,000 people and maybe more here. Entire families have taken shelter in the corridors of the facility, and they find themselves under siege like us. They are in a very critical situation, with no food or anything to drink. Some have contracted diseases, children are suffering from gastrointestinal illnesses and are dehydrated, elderly people are deprived of blood pressure medication. Some died.

The Israeli military accused Hamas of preventing al-Shifa hospital from recovering 300 liters of fuel. What about these accusations?

The whole world is talking about that 300 litres of fuel that would only be enough for half an hour of generator operation. The world has forgotten the nearly 12,000 dead, the 30,000 injured, and the crimes committed against Al-Shifa Hospital, and its patients who are at risk of dying. We did not refuse these 300 litres of fuel, we offered in the morning to send them through the International Red Cross or any other international body. We are ready to accept any aid that comes through the International Red Cross or is placed in a safe place by the occupying forces. I can't go out and go in an ambulance at two o'clock in the morning, in the middle of aerial bombardments and 300 tanks, and therefore risk the life of my ambulance driver, to get fuel that will only be enough for half an hour and that will not relieve hunger.

You just mentioned the International Red Cross. To what extent do you coordinate with humanitarian organizations?

There is coordination, but quite frankly, not on this issue of the 300 litres of fuel. For example, we are in communication with the International Red Cross to bury the victims. More than <> bodies are currently being held in al-Shifa hospital. We contacted the International Red Cross yesterday about this. She gave us the green light today, but an hour later she called us back to tell us not to move because we were going to be bombed. As a result, the operation was cancelled and the bodies are still present in the courtyard of the hospital. The smell of death began to spread among the wounded and displaced.

For several days, the Israeli army has said it has opened safe corridors to allow displaced people to leave hospitals. Why not use them?

That's a lie. I wish there was an internet to send you videos of this safe corridor that is filled with dead bodies. We want to get out of here, the wounded and the displaced families want to get out too. But we want it to be done safely, via safe corridors to a safe place where the injured can receive medical care. We do not want our sick and wounded to be left on the road. Most of the patients underwent open-stomach surgeries, head surgeries and heart surgeries, others had amputations. We are demanding safe corridors and ambulances for patients, as nearly 400 of the 650 patients in the hospital cannot travel. That is what we are asking for.

This week's recapFrance 24 invites you to look back on the news that marked the week

Subscribe now

Take international news with you wherever you go! Download the France 24 app