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Maine health care workers hold vigil for medical providers killed in Gaza

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Maine health care workers hold vigil for medical providers killed in Gaza

Feb 12, 2024 | 11:17 am ET
By Lauren McCauley
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Maine health care workers hold vigil for medical providers killed in Gaza
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Maine health care workrers held a vigil in Portland on Feb. 10 to honor the hundreds of medical professionals killed in Gaza. (Courtesy Health Care Workers for Palestine- Maine)

Maine health care workers held a vigil in Portland on Saturday to honor the hundreds of medical professionals who have been killed over the past four months in Israel’s ongoing war on Gaza.

The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) released new information Friday on the targeting of health care workers in the besieged strip.

Maine health care workers hold vigil for medical providers killed in Gaza
Supporters in Portland signed a community banner honoring health care workers killed in Gaza. (Courtesy of Health Care Workers for Palestine – Maine)

Since the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas on Israel, Israeli Defense Forces have executed 350 attacks on health care facilities in Gaza, according to WHO spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic, who said 27 out of 36 hospitals in Gaza are now damaged.

Jasarevic said a total of 645 medical workers have been killed and another 818 wounded.

During the vigil, which was held in Portland’s Monument Square, healthcare workers from various disciplines and backgrounds gave speeches, read poetry, and had supporters write statements of support on a community banner honoring their colleagues in Gaza. They also read the names of the workers killed.

Healthcare workers in Maine want “to honor our fallen healthcare worker colleagues in Gaza, and mourn the fact that surviving healthcare professionals can’t do the work they’re trained to do — to help people — because of lack of facilities, medicine, supplies, food,” Sarah English, a registered nurse, said in a statement ahead of the vigil. “We recognize that that is also a form of violence against all healthcare workers.”

English added that “our taxpayer dollars are being used to pay for the weapons that are killing our colleagues in Gaza, and to fund ethnic cleansing/genocide of Palestinians.”

There were also reports Friday from the Gazan health authority of “allegations of sniper shooting in the vicinity of Nasser hospital,” according to the UN Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), as well as reports of shelling and heavy gunfire in the vicinity of the Al-Amal hospital.

The IDF confirmed Monday that, despite global concerns about an imminent humanitarian crisis, a new offensive was launched on the southern Gaza city of Rafah, where 1.5 million Palestinians are currently sheltering. Amnesty International said at least 95 civilians, at least half of them children, were killed in the strike. The IDF recovered two Israeli-Argentine hostages while 134 still remain.

Earlier this month, activists calling for a ceasefire in Gaza shut down a busy intersection in Portland.

This story was updated to include details of the strike in Rafah.