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MSF Is Concerned For The Safety Of Patients And Medical Staff Trapped In Hospital Compound

As Israeli Forces announced on 18 March that they were conducting a military operation inside and around Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City, northern Gaza, MSF staff sheltering close by said heavy fighting was taking place.

One of our staff members said he heard drones, tanks and shelling near the hospital in the early hours of 18 March and witnessed a fire rising from Al-Shifa's main building. He also said there were clashes around the MSF clinic and office in Gaza City, where some members of our staff and their families are still sheltering.

We are extremely concerned for the safety of the patients and medical staff trapped in the hospital compound, as well as for the safety of our colleagues and their families currently sheltering in the MSF clinic and office. We call on all warring parties to respect the grounds and perimeter of the hospital and ensure the safety of medical personnel, patients and civilians.

According to our staff, Israeli Forces conducted mass arrests in the area surrounding Al-Shifa and we have lost contact with one of our staff members. Israeli Forces also issued an evacuation order to civilians to leave along Gaza’s coastal road toward al-Mawasi in southern Gaza, despite a new offensive having been announced to take place in the southern part of the enclave.

MSF in Gaza

As of March 11, MSF operates in three hospitals (Al Aqsa hospital, Rafah Indonesian Field Hospital, and El-Emirati Maternity Hospital), one primary healthcare facility (Al-Shaboura clinic) and two health centers in Al Mawasi, in Rafah area. MSF staff are also supporting Al-Awda Hospital in the north. MSF activities are mainly in the South of Gaza.

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Our teams are offering surgical support, wound care, physiotherapy, post-partum care, primary health care, vaccination, and mental health services, but systematic sieges and evacuation orders on various hospitals are pushing our activities onto an ever-smaller territory and limiting response.

MSF Australia was established in 1995 and is one of 24 international MSF sections committed to delivering medical humanitarian assistance to people in crisis. In 2022, more than 120 project staff from Australia and New Zealand worked with MSF on assignment overseas. MSF delivers medical care based on need alone and operates independently of government, religion or economic influence and irrespective of race, religion or gender. For more information visit

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