Dr Ghassan Abu-Sittah, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon, calls the deadly attack on al-Ahli al-Arab Hospital in Gaza a ‘war crime’ that the world saw coming
This is the statement that Dr Abu-Sittah gave in the aftermath of the Israeli bombing of al-Ahli al-Arabi Baptist Hospital in Gaza on Tuesday.
My name is Dr Ghassan Abu-Sittah. I am a plastic and reconstructive surgeon. I am a British-Palestinian volunteer with Medecins Sans Frontieres.
This morning, upon the request of al-Ahli Hospital administration, I moved from Shifa Hospital to al-Ahli Hospital to help out with the treatment of some of the wounded as the number of wounded had exceeded the number of beds in the hospital.
We had been operating all day and had made the decision that in order to continue operating on these patients, I would stay behind and sleep at the hospital.
In the evening, after we finished one of the surgeries, we heard a missile screech followed by a huge explosion. As a result of the explosion, part of the ceiling of the operating room fell in.
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As I moved towards the outside of the operating room and towards the emergency department, we could see bodies of children piled up, both dead (not moving) and wounded.
‘Bodies piled up’
There were several victims who had been amputated. I attended to a man who had his leg blown off at the thigh. We then carried on trying to resuscitate the patients. When the ambulance came, I decided to help out by carrying one of the wounded who had shrapnel in his neck into the ambulance.
As I was walking towards the ambulance there were body parts everywhere and there were bodies piled up in the courtyard of the hospital. I then got into the ambulance and escorted the patient back to Shifa Hospital.
This morning, when I drove into al-Ahli Hospital, I noted how full the hospital courtyard was with families who had sought refuge inside the hospital thinking that it would be a safe haven. It’s these very same families who are now either dead or critically wounded as a result of this attack.
This is a war crime that the world had seen coming. Israel has been warning the entire world that it was going to attack Palestinian hospitals and it did exactly that.
That unconditional support is what led us to this massacre. The impunity that Israel believes it has from its western allies is what has led to this massacre.
No other country feels the impunity to target hospitals and get away with it.
What happened today is a war crime and if the Israelis get away with it again then more war crimes will be committed and more hospitals will be targeted.
The views expressed in this statement belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.