Doctors refuse to leave Al-Shifa Hospital after Israeli evacuation order

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GAZA — Doctors at Al-Shifa hospital in northern Gaza have refused a mandatory evacuation order of the hospital from the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), because they fear the approximately 700 at-risk patients will die if left behind, according to Dr. Munir Al-Bursh, director-general of the Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza.“The problem is not the doctors, it’s the patients. And if they are left behind, they will die, and if they are transferred they will die on the way, this is the problem, we are talking about 700 patients,” Dr. Al-Bursh told CNN Monday. “There has been no response until now by the doctors, but some of the displaced people and families have already been leaving.”The evacuation order, according to Dr. Al-Bursh, is not coordinated with any international humanitarian agencies, such as the International Red Cross. The lack of coordination raises concerns about the safety and feasibility of transferring such a large number of patients, many of whom are in critical condition and will die in transport, he said.Earlier on Monday, the IDF announced that a safe passage for the inhabitants of northern Gaza had been reopened. IDF spokesperson Richard Hecht said on Sunday that the majority of Rantisi and Al-Nasr hospitals, both in Northern Gaza, are almost completely evacuated.On Sunday, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) told CNN it could not confirm any evacuations from Al-Shifa Hospital in northern Gaza.Israel has repeatedly claimed that underneath the embattled Al-Shifa hospital, the largest in Gaza, there is a Hamas command center, which Hamas and hospital officials have denied. — CNN