Israel’s Raid on al-Shifa Hospital: Here’s What You Should Know | Israel-Palestine conflict news

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Thousands of people, including patients, are trapped inside Gaza’s largest hospital amid Israel’s deadly siege.

Israeli forces attacked al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza on Wednesday after laying siege to the enclave’s largest medical facility for weeks. Thousands of people are trapped inside, with dead bodies buried in a mass grave on the hospital premises. Here’s what you know:

What is happening at al-Shifa Hospital?

  • Dr. Ahmad Mokhallalati, a surgeon at al-Shifa who is currently in the hospital, told Al Jazeera that gunshots could be heard from all sides in the medical facility.
  • Dr. Mokhallalati said that 650 patients are still in the hospital, including about 100 in critical condition. Between 2,000 and 3,000 displaced Palestinians seek shelter in the building. In addition, there are 700 medical personnel, he said.
  • Israeli forces have been calling doctors inside al-Shifa. “Being inside the hospital will create a situation of fear and hysteria among the patients here. The halls are full of people, every floor is full of people,” Dr. Munir al Barsh told an Israeli soldier in a call shared online.
  • The hospital also has 36 premature babies who were recently taken off their incubators because the station supplying them with oxygen was destroyed by Israeli shelling three days ago, Al Jazeera’s Hani Mahmoud reported reporting from Khan Younis in southern Gaza. Three babies have already died.
  • Those who were evacuated from inside the al-Shifa have been made to sit in the courtyard outside the hospital. They have to take off their clothes and are interrogated outside in the middle of rain and cold weather, said Mahmoud.
  • “The Israeli forces have tried to kill anyone who moved inside… No one did anything. We don’t have any resistance inside the hospital,” journalist Jihad Abu Shanab, who is inside the medical center, told Al Jazeera.
  • “The bombing has been extremely aggressive over the past nine hours with continuous firing across the area,” said Dr Mokhallati. He also said that Israeli tanks could be heard approaching the hospital.

Where is al-Shifa hospital?

  • Al-Shifa is located in Gaza City in the north, 500 meters (0.3 miles) from the Mediterranean coast.
  • It is a complex of buildings and courtyards a few hundred meters from the small fishing port of Gaza City.
  • It is between the Shati refugee camp and the city’s Remal neighborhood, which was destroyed in the initial days of Israeli bombardment that killed more than 11,000 Palestinians, including nearly 8,000 women and children.

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Is there evidence for Israel’s claims?

  • So far there is no hard evidence of Israeli claims that the hospital was being used for military purposes by the armed group Hamas, which attacked Israel on October 7 and arrested more than 200 people. Israel has said it is targeting Hamas assets.
  • Israeli forces now say there is no sign of detainees inside the hospital and the scan continues, Al Jazeera’s Sara Khairat reports from East Jerusalem.
  • Khairat said this contradicts Israel’s earlier statement when they said they knew exactly what they were going to do.
  • Israel bears the burden of producing evidence and proving that Hamas is using al-Shifa for military purposes, Ardi Imseis, an international law expert at Queen’s University in Canada told Al Jazeera.
  • “The subject of the attack is a civilian thing. Until the Israelis prove that it has been turned into a military object, the civilian nature of the object does not change,” he said.
  • Omar Shakir, Israel and Palestine Director at Human Rights Watch, told Al Jazeera that “the Israeli government has not presented any evidence that would justify removing their special protections under international humanitarian law”.

What did Hamas say?

  • Hamas said on Wednesday that the US announcement had effectively given Israel a “green light” to raid the hospital. The group said that Israel and US President Joe Biden were fully responsible for the operation.
  • He has denied that he has run military operations from any hospitals in the enclave of 2.3 million people.
  • A White House spokesman for the National Security Council, who did not want to be named, told the Reuters news agency that they do not support attacking a hospital from the air and are not in favor of firefighting. seen in a hospital.

What did Israel say?

  • Israeli army spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner told CNN that the hospital and building for Hamas “was the center of their operations, maybe even the beating heart and maybe even the center of gravity.”
  • Israel said in its statement on Wednesday that it had given the Gaza authorities 12 hours to stop military operations inside the hospital. “Unfortunately, it did not,” the military statement said.
  • While the Israeli military said on Wednesday that its forces have given al-Shifa babies and baby food, there is doubt about the practicality of this. People have pointed out that the hospital needs electricity, which Israel cut, not an incubator.

What next?

  • Tamer Qarmout, an assistant professor of public policy at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies, told Al Jazeera that the al-Shifa attack was part of the larger project to “strongly mobilize whoever is left in northern Gaza “.
  • With food and water supplies already running out, the destruction of the medical center is a tactic to empty out the north, explained Qarmout.
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