Leading Gaza surgeon Adnan Al-Bursh dies in Israeli prison


“A prominent surgeon Adnan Al-Bursh in Gaza has passed away while being detained in an Israeli prison for over four months, as confirmed by Palestinian prisoners’ groups. They condemned his death as part of a systematic targeting of healthcare workers.

Dr. Adnan Al-Bursh:


head of orthopedics at Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, was pronounced dead by Israeli prison authorities at Ofer prison in the occupied West Bank on April 19, according to a joint statement Thursday from the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society and the Commission of Detainees’ Affairs.

 Adnan Al-Bursh

Al-Bursh was arrested, along with 10 other medical professionals, during the Israeli military ground invasion of the Jabalya refugee camp in December. He was taken into custody while treating patients in Al-Awda Hospital.

His body has yet to be released by Israeli authorities.

The prisoner associations attributed his death to Israel, asserting it was part of a systematic targeting process against physicians and the healthcare system in Gaza.

has reached out to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) for comment.

Dr. Marwan Abu Saada, director of Al-Shifa Hospital, described the 50-year-old’s death as devastating news for his family, colleagues, and patients. He emphasized Dr. Adnan’s love for life and his popularity among all who knew him.

Al-Bursh’s nephew, Mohammad Al-Bursh, received the news of his uncle’s death from the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society on Thursday. He expressed shock and deep pain, particularly for his uncle’s wife and father.

“From October 10, 2023, he spent every moment he had at Al-Shifa hospital. He didn’t even see his wife until probably two weeks later,” said Mohammad.

During the first Israeli incursion into Al-Shifa hospital, Israeli soldiers gave the medical staff, including Dr. Al-Bursh, the option to leave or face arrest. He followed orders and went south temporarily, returning to the north of Gaza when he felt the roads were safe. However, he continued to face danger as Israeli incursions persisted.

Mohammad said his uncle had the option to seek refuge in shelters in Jabalya but remained determined to continue his work. Dr. Al-Bursh was eventually detained by Israeli soldiers on December 14.

Mohammad’s attempts to obtain information about his uncle’s arrest from authorities and lawyers were unsuccessful.

Just like Mohammad, Abu Saada had inquired about Al-Bursh’s detention but received no updates. He was later informed by a fellow prisoner, who had been released, that Dr. Al-Bursh had been tortured and killed.

An unpublished UN report  describes widespread abuse against detainees by the Israeli military, including beatings, sleep deprivation, and sexual abuse.

Israel released dozens of Gaza detainees earlier on Thursday, including the body of Ismail Khadr, who had also died in Israeli custody. The total number of Palestinian detainees who have died in Israeli custody since October 7 rose to 18.

Israel launched its military offensive in Gaza after Hamas-led attacks on October 7, resulting in a humanitarian crisis in the region.

Concerns are heightened over an anticipated Israeli military operation in southern Gaza’s Rafah, prompting renewed calls for a ceasefire.

There has been intense criticism of Israel’s actions in and around hospitals in Gaza, as medical groups warn of an impending collapse of the healthcare system in the territory.

Dr. Al-Bursh is survived by his five children, the youngest of whom had not seen their father in nearly five months.

His nephew recounted the heartbreaking scene at the mourning house, where two of Dr. Al-Bursh’s children were expecting to see their father.

The last post Dr. Al-Bursh shared was a cartoon image of him wearing his scrubs amidst Gaza’s destruction, with a note in Arabic that read, “We will die standing and we will not kneel… All that remains in the valley are its stones, and we are its stones.”

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