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Israeli campaign puts strain on Gaza hospital -

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Israeli campaign puts strain on Gaza hospitals

AM - Monday, 3 March , 2008 08:08:00

Reporter: Ben Knight

PETER CAVE: Israel has vowed to continue its assault on the Gaza Strip, despite strong
international criticism over the weekend.

Operation Warm Winter is now into its third night of fighting and has seen some of the heaviest
casualties since the second intifada began in 2000.

Inside Gaza, hospitals say they can't cope with the influx and that Israel's blockade means they
can't treat the wounded.

Middle East correspondent Ben Knight reports.

BEN KNIGHT: In the intensive care ward of Gaza's main hospital, nine-year-old Shukir Khadr
(phonetic) lies unconscious with wounds in his neck and back.

SHUKIR KHADR'S UNCLE: He was playing in the street, just playing in the street. And they shot him,
I think from the plane.

BEN KNIGHT: His uncle, Naim (phonetic), is waiting to hear if his nephew will be allowed to cross
the border to Egypt for treatment.

SHUKIR KHADR'S UNCLE: Here the doctors said they can't do anything, they can't do anything for him.
Just waiting. Just waiting.

BEN KNIGHT: In the past three days, the hospital says its emergency room has seen 300 wounded
people. It says two-thirds of those have died, and a third have been children.

MEDHAT ABBAS: We are not receiving one or two to three cases a day, we are receiving them in the
casualties by dozens. This is the problem.

BEN KNIGHT: Today, it's much quieter, but the hospital's critical services director, Medhat Abbas,
says Israel's border blockade means there aren't enough medical supplies to treat yesterday's
patients properly.

MEDHAT ABBAS: They will lose their limbs. The easiest things is to make amputation, isn't it,
otherwise they will go to septicaemia. And this is what we have here unfortunately, and this is
explaining why we are losing too much of our patients.

BEN KNIGHT: Later in the day, Israel announced it had allowed 62 trucks carrying humanitarian aid
and medical equipment to cross the border into Gaza.

Further north in the strip at the Jabaliya refugee camp, seven bodies were carried through the
streets at a funeral.

(Sound of music)

"Fire, fire the rocket into the heart of the enemy," the song says. But every day, more rockets are
fired from Gaza into Israel. And the range appears to be increasing, regularly reaching the town of
Ashkelon, where residents have been demanding action.

(Sounds of people singing)

Meir Shitreet is an Israeli Cabinet Minister.

MEIR SHITREET: It is inconceivable to believe that any other country in the world will suffer a
situation which its own citizens are getting missiles and shelling mortars for seven years and do
nothing.

BEN KNIGHT: As dusk fell on Sunday, 10 Palestinians had died in Gaza, far fewer than the day
before, but an indication that Israel's Operation Warm Winter is not over yet.

Back in Jabaliya's large, dusty cemetery, the dead were being lowered into their graves and whether
they were militant or civilian, were held up as an example for others in Gaza to follow.

FUNERAL SPEAKER (translated): We will never surrender! We will follow the path of the martyrs who
paid with their blood for the cause.

This is Ben Knight in the Gaza Strip, reporting for AM.