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World News

Thousands flee Anglican-run hospital in Gaza after missile attack

by Donna Birrell

Thousands of people have fled after an Anglican-run hospital where they were sheltering was hit by rocket fire in Gaza.

Four people were injured in the attack on the Ahli Hospital in northern Gaza at the weekend. Other hospitals and healthcare facilities in the region were also targeted.

The Dean of St George's College in Jerusalem Richard Sewell has been speaking to Premier about the incident : 

“We are in touch daily with the director, who is our member of staff at the Anglican hospital in Gaza City. There were around 6000 people who were either patients in the hospital or sheltering in the grounds of the hospital, when a missile came in and slammed into the side of a building. It destroyed a cancer assessment unit and one other room. Four people were injured, thankfully, not critically.

“It spread absolute panic and fear amongst the people who were sheltering there because they felt it would be a safe place to be. Because although the Israelis have cut off all water and electricity, our hospital has its own water supply through underwater systems, although it is a limited supply. They also have electricity because they've got their own generator.

“I don’t know why the hospital was hit, but perhaps it was a reminder that there are no safe places. The Israelis do not respect safe places in the evacuation area of Gaza. They want people to leave. So as a result, several thousand people left the grounds of the hospital because they felt it was not safe enough. And Lord knows where they've gone because many people don't want to take the road south. As we’ve seen one convoy already got attacked with probably around 70 dead.

“I just overheard a conversation that was being had with somebody who's sheltering in a church with young children who are there, and I could hear the sound of the children behind crying and frightened, they were terrified. This is the reality of what it means to be a Gazan at the moment. These are not Hamas operatives, these are ordinary people and most of them have got no interest in politics.

“Feelings are running so high. We as Christians must look deeper, to try to understand and to look at all people with compassion. I belong to a predominantly Palestinian church. My friends are predominantly Palestinian, but my heart is breaking for the pain of the Jewish Israelis, the families of those hostages held in Gaza. And as well, for our people sheltering, terrified, in a hospital which should be a safe place, where there are patients who cannot leave.

“Please pray for the bombs to stop.”


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