Two dozen bodies taken to Rafah hospital, doctor says

A Palestinian doctor at a medical center in Rafah said Tuesday that 27 bodies had been brought there since the start of the Israeli incursion, in which ground troops entered Gaza's southeast corner and took control of the side of Gaza at the border crossing with Egypt.

Dr. Suhaib Hems, director of Kuwait Hospital in Rafah, said his facility also received 150 injured people, many of whom had shattered bones, serious head injuries or severe burns.

“The situation is catastrophic in every sense of the word,” Dr. Hems said.

The Israeli army said it killed around 20 people in Rafah, describing the victims as Hamas fighters. It states that “ground troops continue to operate against Hamas terrorist operatives and infrastructure in the Rafah crossing area.” Israel called the incursion into Rafah – where more than a million people have sought refuge from the war – a limited operation.

It was unclear whether there was an overlap in the number of deaths and the two claims could not be independently confirmed.

Dr Hem said his hospital lacked the capacity to adequately treat the injured due to a shortage of equipment and medical personnel.

“If the situation persists, we are only a few days away from completely shutting down the service,” he said. “The health system has completely collapsed.”

Before the war, he said, about 270 people worked at Kuwait Hospital, but that number had dwindled to a few dozen. He said the war had left him with a feeling of “helplessness, betrayal and a sense of hopelessness”.

According to a statement from Gaza's Health Ministry on Tuesday, at least 54 people were killed in the Gaza Strip in the previous 24 hours. Dozens more people were treated for injuries at medical facilities in the area.

“Many victims are still under the rubble and on the streets and ambulances and civil protection teams cannot reach them,” the ministry said. The circumstances of the death could not be independently confirmed.

Israeli forces took control of the Rafah border crossing during the incursion and closed it. Wael Abu Omar, spokesman for the Palestinian side of the crossing, said the closure had prevented 46 injured and sick people from leaving Gaza for treatment in Egypt.

The patients included people with breast cancer, lymphoma and other ailments, the health ministry said.

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