Saturday, July 20

Al-Shifa hospital raid in Gaza and other live updates: Israel-Hamas war

Al-Shifa hospital raid in Gaza and other live updates: Israel-Hamas war

One of the longest Israeli hospital raids of the Gaza war extended into a fourth day on Thursday, as the army said it had killed dozens of people it described as terrorists during the 24 hours before during his operation at Al-Shifa Hospital.

Israel carried out a series of raids on Al-Shifa in northern Gaza, the territory’s largest medical center, arguing that Hamas was using it as a command center and hiding weapons and fighters in underground tunnels there. Since the latest attack began on Monday, the Israeli military said it had killed more than 140 people, claiming they were terrorists, in and around the hospital, far more than in previous raids.

On Thursday, the army said it had also arrested 600 people at the hospital. The Israeli accounts could not be independently verified.

The Al Jazeera news channel and Wafa, the PA news agency, reported Thursday that Israeli forces blew up a building used for surgeries, one of the largest in the complex. The Israeli military said it had no comment on the reports.

Iyad Elejel, who lives about 500 meters from Al-Shifa, said the situation was “very terrifying”, adding in a phone call on Thursday: “We hear constant sounds of clashes, gunshots, of bombings, bombings, quadcopters and planes. day and night. » Smoke seeped into the apartment where he resides with 30 family members, making it difficult to breathe, he said.

Mr. Elejel said the children in the apartment were getting used to the cacophony. “We try to convince them that the noises they hear are from fireworks, but they don’t believe it,” he said.

No one has been able to leave the apartment since the search began, Mr. Elejel said, and the family feared they would soon run out of food. He said that when he looked out the window Thursday morning, he saw “many dead bodies lying on the main street” outside the entrance. Israeli soldiers forced residents of the neighborhood to leave their apartments and head south, causing the neighborhood to empty out, Mr. Elejel said.

The army said in an earlier statement that it was continuing “precise operational activity at Shifa Hospital, eliminating dozens of terrorists over the past day during exchanges of fire.” He also said he was avoiding harm to civilians and had located weapons storage sites.

Israeli forces have carried out a series of raids on medical facilities in Gaza, arguing that Hamas was using them for military purposes. The armed group denied doing so.

Israel made northern Gaza the initial target of its ground invasion of the enclave, which began on October 27, and carried out a first raid on the hospital in November. He then provided evidence that Hamas had built a long tunnel under the hospital. A subsequent New York Times analysis found that Hamas had used the compound for military purposes. The Israeli military, however, has struggled to ensure that Hamas maintains a command and control center under its authority.

Even before the current raid began, international aid workers said the hospital was barely functioning and unable to meet the acute health needs of northern Gaza as it was before the conflict.

The World Health Organization hoped to conduct a mission to the hospital on Thursday to provide fuel and food to staff and patients, as well as assess the situation there, but permission was denied due to concerns safety, according to Dr. Rik Peeperkorn. , who represents the organization in Gaza and the West Bank.

The WHO is “terribly concerned” about the situation, he said, adding that it had not been possible to contact staff there.

Israeli officials said earlier this week that Hamas personnel returned to the hospital, prompting their operation. Military analysts said Israel’s decision to withdraw most of its forces from the north, in part to focus on defeating Hamas in other parts of Gaza, had actually left a security vacuum.

The initial raid on Al-Shifa became a lightning rod for criticism of Israel over military action around hospitals and the danger it poses to patients and medical staff. The raid also became a symbol of a broader debate over the human cost of Israel’s military campaign to destroy Hamas in Gaza, in which tens of thousands of civilians have been killed or injured.

Lauren Leatherby reports contributed.