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Gaza Health Minister: Medicine Shortage Critical

The health minister of Gaza-based government Hamas Basem Na’im announced Saturday, after four consecutive days of crossings closure, that more than 150 kinds of medicines have run out at the ministry’s warehouses.

Beyond medicines, he said from a news conference at Gaza City’s Ash-Shifa Hospital, spare parts for medical equipment are sparse, with some machines inoperable due to lack of available maintenance.

Na’im called Israel’s recent strikes on Gaza “planned in advance,” noting the strikes which killed civilians on Thursday and Friday, and a shelling that damaged an ambulance and injured crew members.

The official called on Egypt to open the Rafah crossing so patients could exit for treatment, and medical supplies be brought in.

News outlets called Friday the deadliest day since Israel launched its Operation Cast Lead in the winter of 2008-9. Since Thursday afternoon, 19 have been killed and another 60 injured, 12 critically, flooding Gaza hospitals with patients.

The flood prompted the General Director of Maintenance and Engineering at the ministry Suheil Sakik to request that the Gaza power station up its electricity provision to the hospitals, saying it was the only way to improve health services for the time being.

Sakik said in a statement that the power plant had responded to his concern, saying it would carry out a feasibility study, and look at the option of providing hospitals with more than one source of power.

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