Skip to main content

"We are peaceful...we provide a purely medical service”: ActionAid condemns attacks after partner hospital in northern Gaza is hit by bombing 

Al-Awda Hospital, Gaza

We are horrified to learn that Al-Awda hospital in northern Gaza, run by ActionAid’s partner Al-Awda, has been hit by bombing at least three times in the last three days. Several people were injured, and the building also suffered damaged in these reprehensible attacks. As one of the only functional hospitals in the north of the territory – and the only facility able to provide maternity services – Al-Awda is a lifeline for thousands of patients and pregnant women in the area. 
Dr Adnan, head of the Obstetrics and Gynaecology department at Al-Awda Hospital, told ActionAid after the first incident on Monday:  

“We were surprised by the bombing of two shells on the fourth building of the hospital. In front of me, two shells demolished the pole and entered the room – one of the patients’ rooms – and four [people] were injured, some of them visitors or workers in the hospital. 

“We are peaceful people, and we provide a purely medical service, and we have no relation to anything. So I am surprised by this bombing. 

“We are insisting on staying and continuing. We cleaned the area and the workers – God bless them – cleaned the area; [the] stones and rubble. We returned to work as we were, and we will never stop.” 

Elsewhere in Gaza too, hospitals and health facilities continue to come under attack, putting the lives of medical workers, patients, and displaced people at risk. Two hospitals in Khan Younis – Nasser and Al Amal – are reportedly under siege, while a child was reportedly killed amid tense fighting in the vicinity of Al-Shifa hospital, according to UNOCHA. In the West Bank, three Palestinian men were killed inside Ibn Sina Hospital on Tuesday after members of the Israeli undercover forces reportedly entered the facility disguised as medical staff and civilians. 
We strongly condemn these attacks on medical facilities, which amount to a potential breach of international humanitarian law, and demand that Al-Awda and all hospitals in Gaza and the West Bank are respected and protected as safe havens.  
Healthcare workers in Gaza are continuing to save lives against the odds while working under the most unimaginable conditions. Only 14 of Gaza’s 36 hospitals are partially functional and are, on average, currently operating at more than 200 per cent capacity, with some forced to turn away new patients. All are experiencing a drastic shortage of medical supplies – including anaesthetics needed for patients undergoing surgery – as well as fuel, food and clean drinking water. There is a severe lack of staff, particularly specialized surgeons, neurosurgeons, and intensive care staff. Yet the health needs of Gaza’s besieged population continue to grow by the day – with an increasing number of patients injured in airstrikes or falling sick from the inhumane living conditions at shelters for displaced people requiring treatment.  
Riham Jafari, Advocacy and Communications Coordinator at ActionAid Palestine said: 

“Once again the brave and resilient staff at Al-Awda hospital are having to sweep away the rubble and debris from yet another shelling. Hospitals should be a safe haven for medical workers to carry out their live-saving work in peace, but as these latest attacks yet again show, nowhere is safe in Gaza. We demand that the protected status of hospitals and all healthcare facilities is respected and upheld in accordance with international humanitarian law.  

“After four months of this crisis, the healthcare system in Gaza is on its knees while the health needs of its 2.3million inhabitants' soar. A permanent and immediate ceasefire is the only way to put an end to this catastrophe, preventing more loss of life, enabling life-saving aid to enter at scale and allowing hospitals and healthcare facilities to begin to recover.” 

Contact the ActionAid press office on or on 07753 973 486.