“The massacre brought our health system to its knees.”

A doctor at Gaza’s al-Ahli Arab hospital has described the “surreal” and “horrifying” scenes he witnessed in the aftermath of an Israeli air strike that killed at least 471 Palestinians there last night.

“The brutality and the nature of the injuries we saw were something we had never witnessed in any attack on Gaza before,” Mohammed Gniem told Middle East Eye, after an Israeli bomb ripped through the hospital, leaving the bodies of the dead and wounded in its wake.

The massacre marks the single greatest loss of life in the ongoing conflict, which has seen at least 3,000 Palestinians killed in Gaza and the West Bank, and 1,400 people killed in Israel. Israeli siege and air strikes on Gaza have continued since 7 October, following a surprise Hamas-led attack on Israel.

Thousands of displaced Palestinians were sheltering in the courtyards of al-Ahli hospital in Gaza City, assuming that they were in a safe place. Many of those are now dead or seriously wounded.

One eyewitness, who did not wish to be named, told MEE that Israel “threatened to bomb the hospital during the first days of the attack, but we never thought they would actually do it”.

Gniem said that the massacre had shattered Gaza’s health system.

“Before the massacre, our hospital was already on the brink. Rooms were filled with those healing from previous massacres, and every corridor was filled with displaced people who sought a safe place to stay,” the doctor said.

“Try picturing a hospital already at capacity,” Gniem said. “Then add an influx of 500 of the injured and deceased,” he told MEE.

The doctor said that he had seen the bellies of children ripped open, “their remains were coming out of their bodies. All these injuries came while the staff were exhausted and the hospital was full.

“In a facility already stretched thin, our staff had to make do, treating those injured wherever space permitted, on the bare ground, with whatever scant supplies we had left,” Gniem said.

Aseel Mousa, Ahmed Dremly and Maha Hussaini in Gaza Strip, occupied Palestine

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