Israeli forces raid Gaza’s Al-Shifa Hospital
GAZA: (Web Desk) Israeli forces have raided al-Shifa Hospital, where thousands of Palestinians are sheltering, following days of heavy attacks in the area surrounding the complex in Gaza City.
Israel’s military said early on Wednesday morning that it was carrying out an “operation against Hamas in a specified area” at al-Shifa, according to Al Jazeera.
Calling the assault a “targeted operation” on Gaza’s largest medical facility, it said the raid was based on Israeli and United States intelligence.
Israel accuses Hamas, the group that governs Gaza, of using the hospital as a base. Hamas rejects the claim. Israel has not produced evidence to back up its assertion.
Dozens of Israeli soldiers entered the facility while tanks were stationed in the yard of the medical complex, Al Jazeera’s Tareq Abu Azzoum said, reporting from Khan Younis on Wednesday. The raid “is considered to be very risky and dangerous as inside the hospital there are around 7,500 Palestinians including patients, doctors and displaced people,” he said.
Dr Munir al-Bursh, the general director of hospitals in the Gaza Strip, told Al Jazeera that Israeli forces searched the basement of al-Shifa and entered the surgical and emergency buildings within the complex.
Dr Ahmed El Mokhallalati, a surgeon inside the facility, reported heavy gunfire and explosions could be heard in the compound. “We saw the [Israeli] tanks and the bulldozers on the centre’s campus,” he told Al Jazeera.
About 700 patients remain at the hospital, including about 100 in critical condition, Mokhallalati reported. More than 1,000 medical staff are also trapped on site, but they are unable to treat patients due to a shortage of medicine and fuel.
Thousands of civilians displaced by Israel’s five-week bombardment of Gaza, which has killed more than 11,200 Palestinians, are also inside al-Shifa Hospital.
Mokhallalati described the fear that has taken hold among the thousands trapped in the facility. “We don’t know what they will do to us. We don’t know whether they will kill people or terrorise them. We know all the propaganda is lies, and they know as well as we do that there is nothing at al-Shifa medical centre.”