West Bank Hospital Chief: Israeli Army Fired Tear Gas Into Compound

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The view outside of the hospital in Qalqilya
The view outside of the hospital in QalqilyaCredit: Fatah website in Qalqilya

The Israeli army fired tear gas into the compound of the Darwish Nazzal Hospital in the West Bank city of Qalqilya, general manager Ghassan Barakat said on Friday.

According to Barakat, in the early hours of Friday morning the IDF entered the hospital grounds while chasing a group of Palestinian youths. "There were some altercations with a few youths in the neighborhood, and while chasing them the security forces entered the hospital's courtyard," Barakat said. He added that "inside the courtyard the security forces began firing tear gas. When they broke in there were about 70 patients in the hospital and about 70 staff. The tear gas affected everyone, and some patients required medical attention."

The hospital said the IDF did not attack patients or medical staff, and no damage was done to the buildings, and notified the Palestinian Health Ministry, the Palestinian Coordination and Liaison Office and the organizations Physicians for Human Rights.

"It's not the first time the IDF attack medical institutions and ignore special the protection they are entitled to," said Efrat Mor, head of the occupied territories division at Physicians for Human Rights. "Targeting patients, not to mention children, is a gross violation of the right to health and the Israeli authorities must investigate and make sure these cases do not repeat themselves."

The Israeli army said in response: "During operational activity in the Qalqilya city area a disturbance developed which included rock=throwing at IDF soldiers. In order to disperse the disturbance, the commander of the group fired a gas grenade towards the rioters, who stood a few hundred meters away from the hospital. Contrary to claims, IDF forces did not enter the hospital compound nor did they fire [a gas grenade] in it." 

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