Gaza hospital refuses to evacuate patients

The Wafa Rehabilitation Center in Shuja’iya, which cares for 15 disabled and elderly patients, received several calls from the Israeli military demanding the patients evacuate, says its director, Basman Ashi.

Ashi says an Israel shell hit near the building, causing damage to the second floor, but no injuries. Ashi says he won’t evacuate his elderly patients because they have nowhere to go.

Four foreign volunteers — from England, the US, France and Sweden — set up camp at the rehabilitation center to deter the military from targeting it.

English volunteer Rina Andolini, 32, says the patients range in age from 12 to over 70 and none can walk or move without assistance. She says there are also 17 Palestinian staff members.

Andolini says the patients are living in a constant state of fear, intensified by the Israeli tank shelling from across the border.

When asked about the situation at the rehabilitation center, the office of the Israeli military spokesman says its residents “have been asked repeatedly to leave.”

“There is a rocket launching site in the area,” the military said, adding that Gaza militants use the center to hide “behind civilians.”

— AP

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