World News 18 Mart 2024

Israeli forces 'reinvade Gaza City' after al Shifa hospital raid

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Eyewitnesses have suggested that Israeli forces have launched a “reinvasion” of Gaza City after the al Shifa hospital was raided overnight. 

Residents said military activity had not stopped after the hospital raid, which the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) and Israel Securities Authority (ISA) said was a “precise operation to thwart terrorist activity”.

But Palestinian authorities described the raid as a “war crime” that had resulted in multiple casualties.

Israeli forces &#039;reinvade Gaza City&#039; after al Shifa hospital raid
IDF launch another raid on Gaza’s largest hospital. Pic: AP

Mohammad Ali, who lives a short distance from the hospital, told Reuters: “Suddenly, we started to hear sounds of explosions, several bombings, and soon tanks started to roll, they came from the western road and headed toward al Shifa, then sounds of gunfire and explosions increased.

“We don’t know what is happening, but it looked as if it was a reinvasion of the Gaza City,” he said.

He claimed military activities began on Monday at around 1am local time (11pm UK time).

Other residents said tanks were operating at the edge of the Beach refugee camp – firing shells at some buildings nearby.

There were also unconfirmed reports from residents and Hamas media that Israeli army forces raided a school near al Shifa, where displaced families are sheltering, and detained several men there.

An IDF and ISA statement on the hospital raid, which was released on Telegram, said: “Following intelligence indicating the presence of terrorists in the area of the Shifa hospital, and their use of the hospital’s infrastructure to conduct terrorist activity, the IDF and ISA are currently conducting a precise operation to thwart terrorist activity and apprehend terrorists in the Shifa hospital compound.”

Israeli forces &#039;reinvade Gaza City&#039; after al Shifa hospital raid
The aftermath of an explosion in the Gaza Strip on Sunday. Pic: AP

It also claimed that “terrorists opened fire at the troops from within the hospital” during the raid.

“The troops responded with live fire and hits were identified. Our troops are continuing to operate in the area of the hospital,” the statement said.

Middle East live: Journalist ‘detained and beaten’ as Israel raids Gaza hospital

The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza called the raid “a blatant violation of international humanitarian law and the Fourth Geneva Convention”.

It said in a statement on Facebook: “The Israeli occupation still uses its fabricated narratives to deceive the world and justify the raid of the al Shifa medical complex.

“The Israeli military attack aims to continue destroying the healthcare system in North Gaza.”

IDF spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said in a video post on social media platform X that they “seek no harm to the civilians that Hamas is hiding behind”.

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But Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry said a fire had broken out at the entrance of the hospital compound, near where a group of displaced women and children were seeking shelter.

It said communication had been cut off, with people trapped inside the surgery and emergency units of one of the buildings.

“There are casualties, including deaths and injuries, and it’s impossible to rescue anyone due to the intensity of the fire and targeting of anyone approaching the windows,” the ministry said, accusing Israeli forces of “another crime against health institutions”.

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The health ministry said 30,000 displaced and wounded people and medical teams were under siege at the hospital, adding: “Everyone who tries to move is targeted by sniper bullets and quadcopters.”

The military issued grainy drone footage of the operation which it said showed troops coming under fire from several buildings in the hospital complex.

Footage circulated on social media appeared to show an Israeli tank blocking the main gate of al Shifa.

The hospital is one of the few remaining health facilities left in the besieged territory.

Israeli forces &#039;reinvade Gaza City&#039; after al Shifa hospital raid
Palestinians gather to receive aid outside an UNRWA warehouse in Gaza City. Pic: Reuters

The Israeli army also dropped new leaflets around the hospital in Gaza City. They said: “To all those who exist or are displaced in Rimal and the displaced in al Shifa and its vicinity: you are in a dangerous combat zone.

“The IDF is operating hard in its residential areas to destroy terror infrastructure.”

The Hamas-run health ministry also said this morning that at least 31,726 Palestinians have now been killed in Israeli strikes on Gaza since 7 October.

Read more:
Netanyahu to push ahead with Rafah assault

Analysis: The West has lost patience over Gaza aid
US pressed on Rafah operation

The figures reported by the ministry do not differentiate between fighters and civilians.

A further 73,792 have been injured, it added.

Israel disputes all figures from the ministry, claiming Hamas is inflating them to create the illusion of a humanitarian crisis.

Hamas denies this and accuses Israel of deliberately targeting civilians.


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