Northern Gaza left without functional hospital: WHO

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The northern Gaza were left without a functional hospital due to a lack of fuel, staff, and supplies, a senior official from the World Health Organization stated.

“There are actually no functional hospitals left in the north,” Richard Peeperkorn, the WHO representative in Gaza, said in an online press conference thursday.

“Al-Ahli Hospital was the last one, but it is now minimally functional: Still treating patients but not admitting new ones.”

Describing it as a “shell of a hospital,” Peeperkorn said Al-Ahli resembled a hospice providing very limited care. About 10 staff, all junior doctors and nurses, continue to provide basic first aid, pain management and wound care with scant resources, he said.

“Until two days ago, it was the only hospital where injured people could get surgery in northern Gaza and that was overwhelmed with patients needing emergency care,” he said.

 Four hospitals with minimum level

In another statement by WHO, chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Dec. 20 northern Gaza is left with only four hospitals operating at a minimum level. 

However, according to the information obtained by the WHO team, Al-Ahli’s operating theaters are no longer functioning due to the “depletion, or complete absence,” of specialists, power, fuel, water, food and medical supplies, Ghebreyesus warned.

“That has left north Gaza with no functional hospital,” he added.

 Truce talks end ‘without results’

Prospects for an exchange deal involving the release of more hostages remained uncertain as Hamas insisted it would not discuss anything less than a complete end to Israel’s offensive in Gaza.

Palestinian factions reject any talks about prisoner swaps until after Israeli “aggression” is ended, a statement published by Hamas said thursday. 

“There is a Palestinian national decision that there should be no talk about prisoners or exchange deals except after a full cessation of aggression,” the statement said.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh visited Egypt on Dec. 20 for the first time in more than a month for discussions with Egyptian officials who are seeking to mediate another truce.

Envoys were intensively discussing which of the hostages still held by Palestinian militants in Gaza could be freed in a new truce and which Palestinian prisoners Israel might release in return.

However, the meeting with Haniyeh ended “without results,” Palestinian official told the BBC.

The Wall Street Journal quoted Egyptian officials as saying Hamas rejected an Israeli offer to stop fighting for one week in exchange for dozens of hostages.

 North Gaza offensive nears end

In the meantime, Israeli army Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said that the military began to battle Hamas in the Gaza City neighborhoods of Daraj and Tuffah, where one of the last of Hamas’s northern Gaza battalions remains, indicating the military appears to be nearing the end of its ground offensive in the northern part of the strip.

The army also said it has operational control over most of northern Gaza, adding that it will take only several more days to complete operations in remaining place.

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