Israeli tanks have surrounded northern Gaza’s Indonesian Hospital after artillery fire killed at least 12 Palestinians in the complex, according to the war-torn enclave’s Ministry of Health.
Ashraf al-Qudra, Gaza’s Health Ministry spokesperson, told Al Jazeera on Monday that “the situation is catastrophic” in the Indonesian Hospital, where hundreds of people remain trapped.
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“The Indonesian Hospital staff are insisting they will stay to treat the wounded. There are about 700 people, including medical staff and injured people, inside the hospital,” he said.
The Israeli military, which rarely publicises troop movements, had no immediate comment.
Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi condemned Israel’s actions and urged Tel Aviv’s partners to “stop its atrocities”.
“The attack is a clear violation of international humanitarian laws. All countries, especially those that have close relations with Israel, must use all their influence and capabilities to urge Israel to stop its atrocities,” she said in a statement.
The advance on the facility, set up in 2016 with funding from Indonesian organisations, came a day after the World Health Organization evacuated 31 premature babies from al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.
They were among more than 250 critically ill or wounded patients stranded there since Israeli forces entered the compound.
The territory’s largest health facility is being evacuated at gunpoint after being under siege for several days with 7,000 people inside.
The United Nations humanitarian agency OCHA has reported the “collapse of services” at hospitals across northern Gaza following widespread air strikes and the lack of fuel and medical supplies.
The Israeli military claims Hamas, the group that rules Gaza, has built underground infrastructure below hospitals for military usage, which Hamas and medical officials deny.
Marwan Abdallah, a medical worker at the Indonesian Hospital, said Israeli tanks were visible from the windows.
“You can see them moving around and firing,” he said. “Women and children are terrified. There are constant sounds of explosions and gunfire.”
Abdallah said the hospital had received dozens of dead and wounded in air raids and shelling overnight.
Israel launched its offensive against Gaza after a wave of cross-border raids by Hamas on October 7 killed more than 1,200 people, the majority of them civilians, according to Israeli authorities.
The Hamas-run government says the death toll from Israel’s aerial bombardment and ground operations in the Palestinian territory has reached 13,000, thousands of them children.