KHAN YOUNIS, Gaza Strip (AP) — The Israeli military raided Gaza’s largest hospital early Wednesday, carrying out what it described as a targeted operation against Hamas, as forces took control of northern Gaza, including seizing the council building. Legislative Council in the sector and the police headquarters there.
In recent days, it has been the focus of war Al-Shifa HospitalWith hundreds of patients, staff and displaced people trapped inside. Al-Shifa Hospital had suspended operations over the weekend, as its supplies dwindled and electricity shortages left it with no way to operate incubators and other life-saving equipment. After days without refrigeration, the morgue dug a mass grave Tuesday for 120 bodies in the courtyard.
In the midst of the confrontation, the hospital in central Gaza City became a focal point for conflicting narratives about the war, now in its sixth week. Israel claims that Hamas is using civilians as human shields, while Palestinians, human rights groups and international critics say Israel is recklessly harming civilians.
The Israeli military said early Wednesday that it raided specific areas in the sprawling Shifa complex, while trying to avoid harming civilians. The statement gave no further details.
Israel has long claimed that militants are hiding military assets at the facility and other hospitals, a claim denied by Hamas and medical staff.
Elsewhere, the Palestinian Red Crescent announced on Tuesday that it had evacuated patients, doctors and displaced families from the Other Jerusalem Hospital in Gaza City.
Israel pledged to end Hamas’ rule in Gaza after the October 7 attack About 1,200 people were killed It resulted in the taking of approximately 240 hostages. The Israeli government admitted that it does not know what it will do with the Gaza Strip in the long term after the defeat of Hamas.
The Israeli attack was disastrous for 2.3 million Palestinians in Gaza.
More than 11,200 people, two-thirds of them women and minors, were killed in Gaza, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Ramallah. About 2,700 people were reported missing. Ministry statistics No difference Among the dead among civilians and soldiers.
Almost all of Gaza’s population has shrunk to the southern two-thirds of the small enclave, where conditions have deteriorated as bombing continues there. The United Nations said on Tuesday that about 200,000 people had fled the north in recent days, but tens of thousands were believed to remain.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) announced on Tuesday that its fuel depot in Gaza has become empty and that it will soon stop relief operations, including bringing humanitarian aid. Limited supplies of food and medicine From Egypt to more than 600,000 people taking refuge in UN-run schools and other facilities in the south.
“Without fuel, the humanitarian operation in Gaza is coming to an end. Many people will suffer and are likely to die,” said Philippe Lazzarini, UNRWA Commissioner-General.
Israeli defense officials changed course early Wednesday to allow about 24,000 liters (6,340 gallons) of fuel in for humanitarian efforts, officials said. Earlier, they repeatedly refused to allow fuel to enter Gaza, saying that Hamas would divert it for military use.
The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, the Israeli defense agency responsible for Palestinian affairs, said UN trucks would be allowed to refuel at the Rafah crossing on the Egyptian border later on Wednesday. She said that the decision came in response to a request from the United States
The plight of hospitals
The director of Al-Shifa Hospital in downtown Gaza City said in a statement that fighting has been going on for days around the Al-Shifa Hospital complex in downtown Gaza City, turning it into a “cemetery.”
The Ministry of Health said that 40 patients, including three children, had died since the emergency generator at Al-Shifa Hospital ran out of fuel on Saturday. The Ministry stated that 36 other children were at risk of death due to the lack of electricity for incubators.
The Israeli army said it had begun an effort to transfer the incubators to Al-Shifa Hospital. Christian Lindmeier, a spokesman for the World Health Organization, said it would be useless without electricity.
Ministry spokesman Ashraf Al-Qudra said that the Ministry of Health proposed evacuating the hospital under the supervision of the International Committee of the Red Cross and transferring patients to hospitals in Egypt, but it did not receive any response.
While Israel says it is prepared to allow staff and patients to evacuate, some Palestinians who managed to get out say Israeli forces opened fire on the evacuees.
Israel says it claims the existence of a Hamas command center In and under healing It is based on intelligence, but no visual evidence has been provided to support it. The Gaza Ministry of Health denied these allegations and said it had called on international organizations to investigate the facility.
Palestinian Red Crescent officials said that the evacuation operation at Al-Quds Hospital came after “more than 10 days of siege, during which medical and humanitarian supplies were prevented from reaching the hospital.”
In a post on social media, they held the Israeli army responsible for bombing the hospital and shooting those inside it.
White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the United States has unspecified intelligence that Hamas and other Palestinian militants are using Al-Shifa Hospital and other hospitals and the tunnels beneath them to support military operations and take hostages.
A US official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters, said the intelligence was based on multiple sources and that the United States collected the information independently.
Kirby said the United States does not support air strikes on hospitals and does not want to see “a gun battle in a hospital where innocent people” are trying to get care.
March for hostages
Families and supporters of about 240 people held hostage by Hamas began a protest march from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The plight of the hostages has dominated public discourse since the October 7 attack, with solidarity protests organized across the country. Marchers, who expect to arrive in Jerusalem on Saturday, say the government must do more to bring their loved ones home.
“Where are you?” Shelly Shem-Tov, whose 21-year-old son, Omar, is among the prisoners, spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “We have no power anymore. We have no power. Bring our children and families back home.”
Battle in Gaza City
It was almost impossible to gather independent accounts of the fighting in Gaza City, as communications to the north had largely collapsed.
Inside some of the newly captured buildings, soldiers raised the Israeli flag and military flags in celebration. In a press conference broadcast on national television, Defense Minister Yoav Galant said that Hamas had “lost control” of northern Gaza and that Israel had made significant gains in Gaza City.
But when asked about the time frame of the war, Gallant said: “We are talking about many months, not a day or two.”
An Israeli commander in Gaza, Lt. Col. Gilad, said in a video that his forces found weapons and eliminated fighters in government buildings, schools and residential buildings.
Israeli military spokesman Daniel Hajari said that Israeli forces have completed control of the Beach refugee camp, a densely built-up area on the border with central Gaza City, and are moving freely throughout the city.
Israel says it has killed several thousand fighters, including important mid-level commanders, while 46 of its soldiers were killed in Gaza.
Jeffrey and Keith reported from Cairo. Associated Press writers Amy Table in Jerusalem and Wafaa al-Shurafa in Deir al-Balah in the Gaza Strip; Sami Magdy from Cairo contributed to this report.
Complete AP coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war.
“Unapologetic tv specialist. Hardcore zombie trailblazer. Infuriatingly humble problem solver.”