On Friday the IDF fired five ‘warning’ missiles – non-explosive missiles sometimes fired at buildings, typically civilian homes, before a larger airstrike – at El-Wafa geriatric hospital in Gaza City, Gaza.
Al-Wafa staff say that the hospital received calls after the rockets on Friday and several calls again from the Israeli military on Tuesday, warning the hospital staff to evacuate the building and that residents from the densely-populated Shujaiya neighborhood, where al-Wafa is located, should evacuate as well, because there was going to be heavy shelling in the area beginning tomorrow morning.
The hospital, which serves as a rehabilitation center for people above the age of 60 – including, in the past, for some victims of Israel’s attacks – currently serves 39 patients over 60-years-old, 14 of which require urgent care.
The 14 remaining patients are the most critical cases. Alone among the Gaza Strip’s hospitals, el-Wafa specializes in occupational and physical therapy. Its current residents have survived the kinds of traumas, like car and industrial accidents and near-drownings, which have killed others.
Shortly after the missiles hit the Hospital, members of the staff called on International supporters to come and hold vigil.
Eight international volunteers, from the US, Spain, Sweden, Venezuela, France, the UK, Australia and New Zealand, have maintained a presence in the hospital, in the hopes of preventing further missile attacks.
You can follow them for updates below.
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Gaza hospital struck by missiles; int’l volunteers gather to protect it