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Remembering our colleagues killed in Gaza

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We mourn the tragic loss of our colleagues who have been killed since the start of the war in Gaza in October 2023. We are outraged that many of these people were killed while providing care for patients or sheltering with their families. We remain deeply concerned for the safety of all our staff members and patients living under fire and siege.

Nowhere in Gaza is safe. Israeli forces have repeatedly attacked health workers and medical facilities, making it nearly impossible for us to continue to provide lifesaving humanitarian assistance. MSF is calling for an end to attacks on health workers and health facilities. We are also demanding an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

Portrait of a beareded man, Mohammed Al Ahel
Mohammed Al Ahel.

Mohammed Al Ahel

MSF lab technician killed on 6 November 2023.

Mohammed Al Ahel was at his home in Al Shati refugee camp on 6 November  when the area was bombed and his building collapsed, reportedly killing dozens of people, including Mohammed and several members of his family. He was a laboratory technician and had been working with MSF for two years.

 

Alaa Al Shawa was a volunteer nurse supporting MSF teams at Al-Shifa Hospital
Alaa Al Shawa.

Alaa Al Shawa

MSF volunteer nurse supporting MSF teams at Al-Shifa hospital; killed 18 November 2023.

Alaa was killed during an attack on an MSF convoy on 18 November while it was en route to southern Gaza to reach a safer place. “We arrived at the clinic and started to try to give Alaa life support, trying to stop the bleeding from his head," said an anonymous MSF staff member present during the convoy attack. "We couldn't do anything. He died while we were trying to save his life.”

MSF had informed both parties to the conflict of the evacuation. The convoy followed the itinerary indicated by the Israeli army and reached Salah Al-Deen Street along with other civilians trying to leave the area. The convoy reached the last checkpoint near Wadi Gaza, which was overcrowded at that time due to extensive screenings of Palestinians by Israeli forces. Despite prior authorization from Israeli authorities, the MSF convoy wasn’t allowed to cross the checkpoint and was left waiting for hours. Shots were later heard by our staff, who out of fear decided to head back to the MSF premises, around four and a half miles north of the checkpoint.  

On their way back, between 3:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. local time, the convoy was attacked on Al-Wahida Street near its junction with Said Al-A’as Street, close to MSF’s office. Two of the MSF cars were deliberately hit, killing Alaa and injuring a family member of another staff member, who later also died from his wound.

“We stood up, just shocked by his death and all that had happened to us," said another MSF staff member present that day. "I was speechless and just not able to think. My kids were crying and people were discussing how to bury our colleague.”

Dr. Ahmad Al Sahar was killed in the November 21 strike on Al-Awda Hospital
Dr Ahmad Al Sahar.
MSF

Dr Ahmad Al Sahar

MSF doctor killed on 21 November 2023.

Dr Ahmad Al Sahar was killed in the 21 November strike on Al-Awda hospital that also killed MSF’s Dr Abu Nujaila and another doctor, Dr Ziad Al-Tatari. Dr Al Sahar and Dr Abu Nujaila were working when the hospital’s third and fourth floors were hit. MSF has regularly shared information about Al-Awda, including making it clear to warring parties that it is a functioning hospital with medical staff.

 

Dr. Mahmoud Abu Nujaila was killed in a strike on Al-Awda Hospital in northern Gaza on 21 November 2023
Dr Mahmoud Abu Nujaila.
MSF

Dr Mahmoud Abu Nujaila

MSF doctor killed on 21 November 2023.
 

Dr Mahmoud Abu Nujaila was killed in a strike on Al-Awda Hospital in northern Gaza on November 21, along with MSF’s Dr Ahmad Al Sahar and another doctor, Dr Ziad Al-Tarari. Before his death, Dr. Abu Nujaila wrote a message on a whiteboard in the hospital normally used for planning surgeries: “Whoever stays until the end will tell the story. We did what we could. Remember us.”

 

Medical activities in Gaza strip following the 11 days of bombardment in May 2021
Reem Abu Lebdeh.
Tetiana Gaviuk/MSF

Reem Abu Lebdeh

MSF physiotherapist and MSF UK board member killed in December 2023.

Though the exact circumstances and date of Reem Abu Lebdeh’s death remain unclear, we believe she was killed along with members of her family at their home in Khan Younis in southern Gaza. Some members of her family remain unaccounted for.

When the Israeli military campaign moved more extensively into Khan Younis over two months ago, we knew Reem was sheltering with her parents and siblings. Regrettably, contact with Reem was lost shortly thereafter and all attempts to regain it failed due to telecommunications networks being cut off.

However, news of Reem's death and that of her family members gradually emerged in the following weeks. To this day, the zone around their house, which was heavily bombarded by Israeli forces, remains too dangerous to approach.

Reem worked as a physiotherapist for MSF in Gaza from 2018 until 2022, and last year was appointed as an associate trustee of the MSF UK Board.

6th MSF staff killed in Gaza
Fadi Al-Wadiya.
MSF

Fadi Al Wadiya

MSF physiotherapist, killed 25 June 2024.

Fadi Al-Wadiya was killed on June 25 along with five other people, including three children, near an MSF clinic in Gaza City. He was cycling to work at the time, on his way to provide medical care to others who had been injured. Fadi was a 33-year-old physiotherapist and father of three who joined MSF in 2018.

On 26 June, Israeli authorities shared several posts on social media accusing Fadi of involvement in military activities in Gaza. MSF is deeply concerned by these allegations and is taking them very seriously.

MSF has reached out to Israeli authorities asking for clarifications about the circumstances of Fadi's killing. Only an independent investigation can establish the facts.

 

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