‘No one is safe there’: First Filipino evacuees from Gaza reach Manila

‘No one is safe there’: First Filipino evacuees from Gaza reach Manila
‘No one is safe there’: First Filipino evacuees from Gaza reach Manila

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - JAKARTA: Hundreds of people are believed to have been wounded by Israeli airstrikes in the vicinity of the Indonesia Hospital in Gaza, a nongovernmental organization that funds the facility said on Friday. 

The Indonesia Hospital in Beit Lahiya was opened in 2015, built from donations raised by the Jakarta-based Medical Emergency Rescue Committee, or MER-C. The NGO also dispatches Indonesian volunteers, three of whom have been at the hospital since Israel’s deadly onslaught on Gaza began last month. 

The facility is one of the last remaining hospitals in Gaza and has treated thousands of Palestinian civilians as Israel continues its daily bombardment of the densely populated enclave in retaliation for the Oct. 7 attack by the Gaza-based militant group Hamas. 

Earlier this week, the Israeli military claimed that Hamas was using the Indonesian hospital “to hide an underground command and control center.” 

The statement was immediately denounced by MER-C as an attempt to “craft a public lie,” while the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the hospital “is a facility that Indonesians built entirely for a humanitarian purpose and to serve the medical needs of Palestinian people in Gaza.”

Sarbini Murad, chairman of MER-C’s executive committee, told Arab News that Thursday’s strikes around the hospital have damaged some of its facilities and wounded scores of people. 

“We hear there’ve been hundreds of casualties, including deaths. It is very crowded, so we don’t know exactly how many,” he said. 

“This is the terror that Israel continues to carry out to make people leave the hospital.” 

MER-C estimates that about 1,000 people are currently being treated at the hospital for injuries and at least 5,000 have sought refuge inside the facility, while another few thousand people are sheltering in adjacent buildings. 

The attack on the hospital was a shock for Indonesians, many of whom closely follow developments related to the facility and in Gaza. 

“I felt very angry and sad,” Ferena Debineva, a social researcher in Jakarta, told Arab News.

“As an Indonesian citizen, I believe that health facilities must always be maintained as neutral and safe places, especially because of their vital function in the current crisis conditions. These attacks have not only caused material losses but also destroyed hope and faith in humanity.” 

Deadly Israeli airstrikes, targeting residential buildings and hospitals, have already killed at least 10,812 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, and wounded tens of thousands more. Among the dead are 195 doctors, paramedics and nurses. 

“They bomb all hospitals. Not only Indonesia Hospital,” Rahung Nasution, Indonesian filmmaker and activist, told Arab News. 

“It’s the worst war crime, true evil.” 

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