Israel’s Military Says Its Forces Are Still at Al-Shifa Hospital

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Israeli officials said the raid, which began Monday, was an operation targeting senior Hamas officials who had regrouped there.

People huddle on a cart pulled by a donkey.
Palestinians arriving in Nuseirat, Gaza, on Monday after fleeing the area near Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.Credit…Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The Israeli military said its forces were pressing on with a raid of Al-Shifa Hospital and had detained scores of people there, in an operation that has drawn condemnation from Gazan health officials and raised questions about how much control Israeli forces have over northern Gaza.

The latest raid of Al-Shifa began on Monday in what Israeli officials said was an operation targeting senior Hamas officials who had regrouped there, setting off a battle that both sides said had resulted in casualties.

On Tuesday, Israel’s military said its troops were “continuing precise operations” in the sprawling complex of the hospital, which is Gaza’s largest. It said it had killed dozens of militants, though its account of the fighting could not be independently verified.

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Emmy Shaheen, a resident of Gaza City, filmed clashes around Al-Shifa Hospital, where the the Israeli military carried out an operation.CreditCredit…Emmy Shaheen

The Al Jazeera news network said that one of its journalists had been detained for 12 hours. It said the journalist, Ismail al-Ghoul, had been severely beaten. Israel’s military has not responded to the allegations, which drew outrage from the Committee to Protect Journalists.

The Gazan Health Ministry condemned the raid as a “crime against health institutions,” and humanitarian organizations expressed alarm over the situation at the complex. The hospital, along with the surrounding area, had been sheltering 30,000 patients, medical workers and displaced civilians.

“Hospitals should never be battlegrounds,” the director general of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said in a post on social media warning that the situation was “endangering health workers, patients and civilians.

Doctors Without Borders said it was “extremely concerned” for the safety of patients and medical staff in the hospital compound. In a statement on Monday, the organization urged “all warring parties to respect the grounds and perimeter of the hospital and ensure the safety of medical personnel, patients and civilians.”

Israel has said that the hospital complex doubled as a secret Hamas military command center, calling it one of many examples of civilian facilities that Hamas uses to shield its activities.

Four months ago, Israeli forces stormed the complex and found a tunnel shaft that they said supported their contention that the armed group had used it to conceal military operations.

Since then, Israel has withdrawn many troops from northern Gaza and has shifted the focus of its invasion to the south. As a result, lawlessness has increasingly taken hold in the north, prompting international aid organizations to suspend operations despite a dire humanitarian crisis.

The Biden administration has grown increasingly critical of Israel’s conduct of the war and its toll on civilians. On Monday, President Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, said that “more innocent civilians have died in this conflict, in this military operation, than in all the wars in Gaza combined, including thousands of children.”

“A humanitarian crisis has descended across Gaza, and anarchy reigns in areas that Israel’s military has cleared but not stabilized,” he said.

Gabby Sobelman and Rawan Sheikh Ahmad contributed reporting.

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