The Israeli military has announced that it will be conducting an operation against Hamas militants at Al Shifa Hospital on Wednesday. Despite repeated calls for the terrorists to surrender, hundreds of Palestinian civilians are still taking refuge inside the Gaza Strip’s most prominent hospital at this time.
According to the director-general of the Gaza health ministry, Dr. Munir al-Bursh, who was speaking with Al Jazeera television, Israeli soldiers had conducted a raid on the western side of the hospital complex.
Large explosions may be heard, and there is dust where we are now. According to what Bursh claimed, “We believe there was an explosion inside the hospital.”
Several hours later, the spokesperson for the Gaza Health Ministry, Ashraf al-Qidra, told Al Jazeera that “the occupation army is now in the basement and searching the basement.” They are currently operating within the compound, firing weapons and detonating bombs.
According to Mohammed Zaqout, head of hospitals for the Gaza Health Ministry, Israeli soldiers initially attacked the hospital’s surgical and emergency departments. This information was provided to Al Jazeera.
Reuters could not independently verify al-Shifa’s circumstances. During the Israeli assault on Gaza that has been going on for the past five weeks, thousands of patients, medical staff, and displaced people have been trapped inside Al Shifa, which has become the focus of international alarm due to the worsening conditions in the facility. Calls from around the world for a humanitarian ceasefire have been increasing in recent days, and the fate of Al Shifa has become the focal point of international alarm.
According to Israel’s claims, Hamas has a command center beneath Al Shifa and utilizes the hospital and tunnels beneath it to hide military activities and keep captives. Hamas refutes this claim.
The Israel Defense Troops (IDF) issued the following statement: “Based on intelligence information and an operational necessity, IDF forces are carrying out a precise and targeted operation against Hamas in a specified area in the Shifa hospital.” This was mentioned in the context of the IDF conducting the operation.
The military further stated: “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 civilians.”
According to Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner, a spokesperson for the Israeli army, the hospital and facility were “a central hub of their operations, perhaps even the beating heart and maybe even a center of gravity” for Hamas.
On Tuesday, the United States stated that its information backed the findings reached by Israel.
Hamas stated on Wednesday that the declaration made by the United States had, in effect, provided a “green light” for Israel to assault the hospital. The organization held Israel and President Joe Biden of the United States accountable for the operation.
“We do not support striking a hospital from the air, and we don’t want to see a firefight in a hospital where innocent people, helpless people, and sick people who are trying to get the medical care they deserve are caught in the crossfire. ” A representative for the National Security Council at the White House stated that hospitals and patients must be safeguarded.
Over the previous ten days, Israeli soldiers have engaged Hamas rebels in deadly street skirmishes before marching into the heart of Gaza City and encircling Al Shifa.
In reprisal for the attack carried out by Hamas terrorists inside Israel on October 7, Israel has vowed to wipe out the Hamas organization. During the rampage, according to Israel, Hamas killed 1,200 individuals and abducted more than 240 others as hostages.
Mai Alkaila, the Palestinian Authority Health Minister, stated that Israel was “committing a new crime against humanity, medical staff, and patients by besieging” Al Shifa. The West Bank is a distinct Palestinian region that Hamas does not govern.
“We hold the occupation forces fully responsible for the lives of the medical staff, patients, and displaced people in Al Shifa,” Alkaila stated in an official statement.
SEVERE WEATHER CONDITIONS
Al Shifa, a vast complex of buildings and gardens, may be found just a few hundred meters from the fishing port in Gaza City. Internal medicine and dialysis are two of the departments that are housed in buildings that are located on the western side of the compound, which a Gaza official stated was the location of the attack.
According to Hamas, there are 650 patients and between 5,000 and 7,000 additional people trapped inside the grounds of the hospital, where they are subject to continual fire from Israeli snipers and drones. It is said that 40 patients have passed away in recent days as a result of fuel, water, and supply shortages.
After the deaths of three infants in the neonatal department, there are now just 36 infants left. Because there was a gasoline shortage for the generators that powered the incubators, the newborns were kept as warm as possible by being stacked eight to a bed.
Qidra, a spokesperson for Gaza’s health ministry, claimed that despite Israel’s pledge to deliver portable incubators, Palestinians who were stuck in the hospital dug a mass grave on Tuesday to bury patients who had died, and there was no plan in place to transfer newborns despite Israel’s announcement that it would send the incubators.
Qidra reported that there were around one hundred decaying bodies inside, with no way to remove them.
The “dramatic loss of life” that occurred at the hospitals has gravely troubled Antonio Guterres, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, according to his spokeswoman. “In the name of humanity, the secretary-general calls for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire,” the spokesperson said to the press.
More than 11,000 individuals have been reported deceased as a result of Israeli attacks; over 40 of them are children; in addition, countless others are believed to be buried beneath the wreckage. Hamas governs Gaza.
It is estimated that around two-thirds of Gaza’s 2.3 million residents have been rendered homeless and are unable to flee the enclave, which is experiencing a shortage of food, gasoline, fresh water, and medical supplies.
LAW ON AN INTERNATIONAL LEVEL
According to experts from the United Nations Human Rights Office, Israel’s march toward Shifa Hospital has created issues about how the country would interpret international regulations on the protection of medical institutions and the thousands of displaced people hiding there.
Under international humanitarian law, facilities that house hospitals are afforded special protection. However, reports that Shifa is also being used for military objectives have compounded the matter because, according to authorities with the United Nations, this would also constitute a violation of international law.
Under international law, medical units that violate it by engaging in activities detrimental to the adversary and continuing to do so after receiving a warning to desist from doing so are stripped of their unique protection.
In a statement that it released on Wednesday, Israel stated that it had given the Gazan authorities a deadline of 12 hours to stop conducting military operations inside the hospital. “Unfortunately, it did not,” said the statement issued by the military.