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Gaza’s al-Shifa Hospital Doctor Passes Away While in Israeli Detention

Doctor from Gaza’s al-Shifa Hospital dies in Israeli prison

Adnan al-Barash, a prominent Palestinian doctor from Gaza’s al-Shifa Hospital, died in an Israeli jail after over four months of detention, as reported by the enclave’s health ministry and advocacy groups for Palestinian prisoners. Al-Barash, head of orthopaedics at Gaza’s largest medical facility, was detained by Israeli forces while temporarily treating patients at al-Awda Hospital.

His death was condemned by Palestinian Prisoners Affairs Committee and the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society, attributing it to Israel and labeling it an “assassination.”

His demise marks a grim milestone, with Gaza’s Ministry of Health reporting that since October’s outbreak of conflict, 496 medical personnel have been killed. The ministry decried the secrecy surrounding prisoners’ conditions, particularly those from Gaza, warning against further potential tragedies.

Adnan al-Barash

Adnan al-Barash (Credits: Times Of Israel)

Francesca Albanese, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in occupied Palestinian territories, expressed deep concern over al-Barash’s death, highlighting the peril faced by Palestinians under Israeli occupation. She urged UN Member States to take tangible actions to protect Palestinian lives.

Al-Barash passed away on April 19, according to Palestinian authorities, with allegations from prisoners’ groups asserting that his death resulted from torture, framing it as part of a broader pattern targeting Gaza’s medical professionals. The Israeli prison service confirmed the death of a prisoner detained for national security reasons but provided no details on the cause.

Dr. Ghassan Abu Sittah, a British Palestinian surgeon, accused the Israeli army of torturing al-Barash to death, emphasizing his valuable contributions as a surgeon and his tragic end in Israeli custody. Abu Sittah underscored the gravity of al-Barash’s death, likening it to a red line, warning of the peril faced by over 100 health workers currently imprisoned.

The fate of al-Barash’s colleagues, also detained in December, remains unknown. Despite international humanitarian law prohibiting attacks on medical facilities and personnel, the Israeli military has repeatedly targeted them. Gaza’s health ministry highlighted the plight of 1,500 wounded medical workers during the conflict and called on the international community to intervene and safeguard prisoners held by Israel, amidst ongoing allegations and denials regarding the use of hospitals for military purposes.

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