Special report: Palestine-Israel Conflicts
Smoke and fire are seen after an Israeli air strike in the northern Gaza Strip December 27, 2008.(Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
by Saud Abu Ramadan
GAZA, Jan. 3 (Xinhua) -- The sudden and violent
beginning of Israel's areal onslaught into Gaza Strip was bigger that the
emergency plans drawn up earlier by the Palestinian health care system, Gaza
The crisis emerged widely in al-Shifa hospital, the
only main sanatorium for Gaza's 1.5 million population. The hospital's floors
were colored in red, and also the grass in its yard, as doctors and volunteers
offered first aid to hundreds of wounded people on the floor.
"We have got more than 500 case in the hospital in the first minutes of the attacks and, in later hours, the number dramatically rose, exceeding the 585-bed capacity of the hospital," said Raed al-Arini, a spokesman for the al-Shifa hospital.
Palestinians carry a wounded woman in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on Dec. 31. (Xinhua/AFP Photo)
At one of the operation rooms, three wounded persons
laid to undergo surgeries at the same time, though the facility is prepared to
deal with one case. "There is only six operation rooms in the hospital," says
Dr. Basel Baker, director of the surgery at the hospital.
"Tens of serious cases were thrown in the yards of
the hospital on the first couple of days and we were unable to know who needed a
surgery, "I have not seen such thing in Gaza in my career," the 54-year-old
The Israeli intensive attacks in Gaza killed up to
430 Palestinians since their start on Dec. 27, more than half of them died on
the first day of the offensive as the warplanes launched simultaneous strikes at
tens of police and security stations across the coastal enclave.
According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights
(PCHR), 165 Hamas policeman were among the dead, the majority of them passed
away when their posts were bombed.
The strikes continued, adding houses and mosques to
their range of fire.
Outside the operation room, three children of Hedaya
al-Arini, were crying as they waited to hear news about their mother, seriously
hurt when an F16 fighter jet struck at a house of a Hamas activist in Gaza city
on Thursday. "The rocket (shrapnel) cut my mother's legs and demolished our
house," screamed Huda, the12-year-old daughter as tears flowed over dark red
spots the shrapnel and debris made on her face.
"We are poor and our house is modest, its ceiling is
made of very fragile sheets of asbestos that fell on us when we were asleep,"
she added as she tried to relief her younger brothers.
The nonstop arrival of wounded and dead bodies, by
ambulances and civilian vehicles, caused shocked among the doctors who have been
locked in the hospital for more than a week. A nurse at the reception did not
control herself and went crying crazily after she saw pile of flesh brought in
on a stretcher.
Fawzi al-Nabulsia, director of the Intensive Care
Unit (ICU), said most of the cases they received were clinically dead. "Most of
them are injured in the head and heart," he affirms.
He also warns that the hospital suffers from shortage
in most of the medical supplies that are needed in the day-to-day work. The same
warning was released by the health ministry, which says that 105 sorts of the
medicines have ran out, in addition to 220 apparatuses stopped due to lack of
As the electricity is cut most of the time, the
doctors say the fuel is running out, adding more troubles to the work of the
medical teams who, from the outset, do their job in extra ordinary