GAZA STRIP: Israeli troops raided Gaza’s largest hospital on Wednesday, targeting what they say is a Hamas command center in tunnels beneath thousands of patients and civilians seeking refuge from intense fighting.
The operation at Al-Shifa hospital causes growing concern for the people trapped inside in worse conditions. Dozens of Israeli troops, some wearing face masks and shooting in the air, ordered young men to surrender.
Youssef Abu Rish, an official from the health ministry who was in the hospital, said that he could see tanks inside the facility, AFP news agency reported.
The Red Cross and World Health Organization (WHO) urged the protection of civilians inside the hospital, echoing warnings from key Israel ally the United States. Israel said the raid was being conducted based on “an operational necessity,” but the Palestinian Authority condemned it as a flagrant violation of international law.
The United Nations (UN) has said it estimates that nearly 2,300 people – staff, patients, and displaced civilians — are inside the facility and may be unable to escape because of intense fighting.
Horrific Conditions Inside Hospital
Witnesses have described conditions inside the facility as horrific, with medical procedures taking place without anesthetic, families with scant water or food living in corridors, and the stench of decomposing corpses filling the air.
The health ministry in Gaza says Israel’s increasing aerial bombardment and ground offensive have martyred 11,320 people, mostly civilians, including thousands of children.