Open letter to the British Medical Journal

Cutting off Al Shifa hospital, a military surgical job
March 16, 2021, it happens in Gaza

Up to 9 pm ET of may 16, they are still digging up the victims of the attacks last night on the populated road al Wahda Street, leading to the main and emergency ambulances entrance of the al Shifa hospital.

Shifa is the only hospital equipped for emergency assistance, both in term of personnel, instruments and space. It has received over 490 seriously wounded of the total 1235 wounded in the last few days, and is struggling to cope. There is no other facility capable to cope with this amount of wounded all together, or the needed technical tools anywhere else in the Gaza strip.

In the past few days, the roads near the side entrances of the hospital were bombed, making roads unavailable for traffic, and also destroying the bank on the right side and affecting a major medical supplies store on the left side of main entrance.

Last night, a massive attack destroyed al-Wahda Street leading to the hospital. Several buildings were bombed, apparently no warning signal was given and entire families where buried while asleep. Search and rescue is still going on at 9pm, because people nearby were convinced there could be other families of residents under the rubble.

Below is a partial list of those killed with their age and names, with rising numbers. By this time the number of killed according to the Ministry of Health, has risen to 47, of which 16 were women and 10 children.. Among them are the families of 2 doctors, numbers 10 and 13 on the list. They were Dr Moen Al-Aloul, a retired psychiatrist, killed with his wife Mrs Raja’ Abu-Alouf a devoted psychologist and all their 5 children, and Dr Ayman Abu Al-Ouf, an internal medicine consultant with his wife and two children. Of the 50 seriously wounded, most were women and children

This was the most lethal single attack in these 6 days and its possible motivation was to block the wounded from hospital access.

So far the total casualty and death toll in Gaza over the last six days, since 10 May 2021, is 192 dead, of which 34 were women and 58 children, and 1235 were wounded; UN reports that about 30.000 were made homeless and displaced. Ten families of multiple generations were totally annihilated – with no survivors.

The road to the hospital has been destroyed and so now there is no way for ambulances to reach Shifa. The rescuers have to walk carrying the wounded over the rubble for at least a few hundred meters. Even the emergency supplies for the functioning of the hospital had to be manually carried over the rubble. The hospital by now has corridors lined with stretchers with wounded people. Most of the wounded that underwent surgery needed intensive care treatment, as the Director of Surgery Dr Marwan Abu Sada reported this evening, and these were already filled with Covid patients. Few spare ventilators could be found and Covid patients had to be moved to make space for the wounded patients that underwent serious surgeries. All supplies are scarce, and disposables had to be reused.

In addition, two small private clinics in al-Wahda street which were helping the wounded were also destroyed.

Shifa Hospital itself has not been bombed. This was to avoid a huge outcry from the international community. There was an attempt to do that in 2014 under the pretense that Hamas leaders were hiding in it. The ICRC exposed it as a lie, so the pretext for destroying Shifa Hospital was aborted.

Yet, blocking the wounded from receiving urgent life-saving care is an equally unacceptable way of creating more deaths and creates more stress to the hospital. Families will have to watch their loved ones die when the hospital is blocked.

We cry out in anguish for the lives of people and colleagues directly killed. We are outraged at these deliberate military “surgical strikes” around the hospital killing so many and doubtlessly more in the coming days, due to the access roads to the hospital being destroyed.

We denounce these crimes. We hope that you will give maximum visibility to this killing of innocent civilians and to the deliberate obstruction of the wounded from reaching help by bombing the road to the hospital and the structures around it.

Please help to spread this message.

On behalf of many European and US colleagues of the al Shifa doctors and personnel


List of victims at 2pm of may 16, from MoH

1 .عبد الحميد فواز الكولك 22 عاما
2.أمين محمد الكولك 85 عاما
3.محمد عوني الكولك17 عاما
4.آيات إبراهيم الكولك19 عاما
5. احمد شكري الكولك 17 عاما
6. ريهام فواز الكولك 30 عاما
7.فواز شكري الكولك 55 عاما
8.روان علاء أبو العوف 19 عاما
9.ديما رامي الفرنجي 16 عاما
10.معين أحمد العالول 66 عاما
11.لؤي محمد عودة 54 عاما
12.حازم عادل القمع 48 عاما
13. الدكتور في قسم الباطنة أيمن أبو العوف 50 عاما
14.أمل جميل الكولك 34 عاما
15.سامح فواز الكولك 28 عاما
16.سعدية يوسف الكولك 28 عاما
17.عزت معين الكولك 44 عاما
18.الطفل آدم عزت الكولك 3 أعوام
19.الرضيع قصي سامح الكولك عام واحد
20.الطفل آدم عزت الكولك 3 أعوام
21.الطفل زيد عزت الكولك 8 أعوام
22.طاهر شكري الكولك 23 عاما
23. الطفل زين رياض اشكنتنا 8 سنوات
24.الطفل يحي رياض اشكنتنا 5 سنوات
25.الطفلة دانا رياض اشكنتنا 9 أعوام
26.عبير نمر اشكنتنا 30 عاما

1. Alan Meyers, MD,MPH, USA
2. Alice Rothchild, MD, USA
3. Amy Alpert CCC/SLP, USA
4. Bruno Cigliano, Pediatric Surgeon, Italy
5. Carla Ciccone, Gynecologist, Italy
6. Colin Green, Professor of Surgical Science, UK
7. Franco Camadona, Gynecologist, Italy
8. Gianni Tognoni,. MD, Italy
9. Guido Veronese, Prof. Clinical Psychology, Italy
10. Hans Husum, surgeon, PhD, Norway
11. Iain Chalmers, MD, Retired health services researcher, Uk
12. Jewish Voice for Peace Health Advisory Council, USA
13. Mariagiulia Agnoletto, Psychiatrist -Italy
14. Marina Rui, Prof. Chemistry, Italy
15. Maxine Fookson, RN, MN, USA
16. Paola Manduca, Geneticist, Italy
17. Peter H. S. Sporn, MD, USA
18. Rachel Rubin, MD, MPH, FACP, USA
19. Raija-Leena Punamäki-Gitai , PhD, MBA, prof.Phycology, Finland
20. Sergio Dagostino, , Pediatric Surgeon, Italy
21. Silvana Agatone, Gynecologist, president of Nat. Assoc. Laiga, Italy
22. Stefania Papa, Associate Professor of Ecology, Italy
23. Swee Ang, Orthopaedic Surgeon, UK
24. Trude Bennett, DrPH, USA
25. Vittorio Agnoletto, Prof. Global and Public Health, Italy

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