Lebanese Army soldiers broke into a warehouse of the Palestinian-run Gaza Hospital yesterday and today and confiscated several truckloads of medication and hospital supplies, according to the hospital's medical director.
The hospital, at the edge of the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps, is administered by the Palestinian Red Crescent. Sabra and Shatila are where several hundred Palestinian civilians were massacred by Christian militiamen in September.
Dr. Amir Hamawi, the medical director of the hospital, said the Lebanese Army took more than $250,000 worth of medical supplies yesterday. He estimated that what was taken today was worth much more. The supplies were described as antibiotics, anesthetics and other hospital equipment and furniture.
An American nurse and a British doctor, Dr. David Gray, confirmed the report to correspondents.
Hamawi said the supplies had been furnished by the International Committee of the Red Cross, Oxfam and the Italian contingent of the multinational peace-keeping force in Beirut.
"Two more visits like this and we might as well pack it up. It would finish the hospital," Gray said.
The doctors said the soldiers first came yesterday morning, led by a "Captain Naja," who had come to the hospital premises before searching for PLO weapons.
Yesterday, two trucks and a car were loaded with medication by the soldiers. Today at least three truckloads were hauled away, the sources said.
Hamawi said he complained to the Lebanese Army commander of the district, on Beirut's southern fringe. The commander said the incident was "the result of a misunderstanding due to conflicting orders from two different officers."
The commander, who was not named, then promised to get the supplies back, according to Hamawi. An Army spokesman acknowledged today that something had happened but refused to comment further.