Article published on the 2008-12-29 Latest update 2008-12-29 15:24 TU
On Monday morning Ashkelon was hit by nine rockets. Thirty-two people were wounded and one died, according to Dr Ron Lobel, deputy Director-General of Barzilai.
"The problem for us is that the entire hospital is within the range of the rockets and we might be hit within," Lobel told RFI, adding that the hospital, the only one of its kind serving 500,000 people in the area, does not have fortified walls.
Lobel says that the emergency unit had been moved underground for better protection.
"It's less comfortable to treat patients there, but it's a little bit more safe," he says. "In this state of alarm we have moved our pediatric department to an underground facility."
Lobel adds that some patients are from Gaza.
"There are still 12 children hospitalised there, and three of them are Palestinians."
Palestinians regularly come through the checkpoints to be treated by doctors in Israel.
"They are just sick people who come who cannot be treated in the Gaza hospital ... this is a relationship we have had for many years," he says.
But working so close to the border is dangerous for the staff as well. In February a rocket fell on the helipad, 800 metres from the emergency room. Another fell and exploded today only 700 metres from the hospital.
With the current siege, Gazan patients are blocked from entering the area.
"I believe within a few days things will calm down and they will start to transfer patients to our hospital," Lobel says.