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Israeli Forces Raid Gaza's Al-Shifa Hospital, Hamas Blames US

Israel said it was carrying out a 'precise and targeted operation against Hamas' at Al-Shifa hospital based on US intelligence.
Israel said it was carrying out a 'precise and targeted operation against Hamas' at Al-Shifa hospital based on US intelligence.

Image Courtesy: Twitter/@AndyVermaut

Delhi: In yet another disturbing development in occupied Palestine, Israeli forces raided al-Shifa Hospital, where thousands of Palestinians have been sheltering. The raid comes in the wake of heavy attacks for days in the area around the hospital complex in Gaza City, the Al Jazeera reported.

The Israeli military stated Wednesday morning it was carrying out an “operation against Hamas in a specified area” at al-Shifa, according to the Al Jazeera report. The military said the raid was based on Israeli and United States intelligence.

Al Shifa is Gaza’s largest medical facility. The hospital has run out of fuel and is hardly operational, as per reports. Its situation has deteriorated rapidly in recent days amid intense attacks by Israel, with doctors alerting about a dire situation for patients, staff and refugees staying inside.

Israel on Wednesday again accused that Hamas, which governs Gaza, uses the hospital as one of its bases and that jeopardised the hospital's protection under international law. However, Hamas rejected the accusation and Israel has not presented any evidence of its claim.

"We hold the occupation [Israel] and President Biden wholly responsible for the assault on al-Shifa medical complex,” Hamas said in a statement. 

“The adoption by the White House and the Pentagon of the occupation’s false claim that the resistance is using al-Shifa medical complex for military ends has given the green light to the occupation to commit more massacres against civilians,” the statement added.

People inside Al-Shifa hospital have lost contact with other buildings in the complex, the supervisor of the ER department Omar Zaqout told Al Jazeera in a phone interview. Zaqout said people are sheltering inside the buildings and staying away from windows and doors while hearing explosions, gunfire, "screams of older people and cries of children." 

Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesperson, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said Israel was at war “with Hamas” and not “with civilians in Gaza,” and described the raid on Al-Shifa hospital as a “precise and targeted operation against Hamas in a specified area”. 

“The IDF forces include medical teams and Arabic speakers, who have undergone specified training to prepare for this complex and sensitive environment, with the intent that no harm is caused to the civilians being used by Hamas as human shields,” Hagari said on Wednesday, as per the CNN report.

Dozens of Israeli soldiers entered the facility while tanks were stationed in the courtyard of the medical complex. The hospital has 7500 Palestinians including patients, doctors and displaced people, the Al Jazeera reported.

The hospital's medical staff claimed an estimated 650 patients were still in the hospital and an additional 5,000-7,000 displaced civilians were trapped inside the hospital complex. They were under fire from Israeli snipers and drones, according to the health ministry.

 Dr Munir al-Bursh, the general director of hospitals in the Gaza Strip, told Al Jazeera that Israeli forces searched al-Shifa's basement and also entered the surgical and emergency buildings within the complex.

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