Middle East Crisis: Israeli Forces Raid Hospital Complex in Southern Gaza

[ad_1]

Israel sent troops into Nasser Medical Complex on Thursday in what it described as a “limited” operation against Hamas, raising concerns about the fate of hundreds of patients and medical workers and the many displaced Palestinians who had sought shelter there from the war.

The raid came two days after Israel’s military ordered displaced people to evacuate the hospital, the largest in southern Gaza and one of the last ones functioning in the enclave, and after warnings by health officials that a military operation there could be catastrophic for civilians.

Ashraf al-Qudra, the Gazan health ministry’s spokesman, said that the Israeli military had demolished the southern wall of the complex and begun storming it, overrunning the ambulance center and an area where displaced people had been living in tents. He said that Israeli forces were attacking the hospital’s orthopedic department and had killed one patient and injured several others.

The Israeli military said that special forces soldiers were “conducting a precise and limited operation inside Nasser” against Hamas, which it accused of hiding in the hospital among wounded civilians. Israel, which has said that Hamas uses hospitals across Gaza as cover for military operations, said it had intelligence, including from released hostages, that Hamas had held captives at the hospital and that their bodies might be there.

Neither Israel’s claims nor those of the Gazan authorities could be independently verified.


Tents of

displaced

people

Tents of

displaced

people

On Thursday, Israel said that it had detained “a number of suspects” at Nasser, and Dr. al-Qudra said that Israeli forces had bulldozed graves on the hospital grounds. In past raids on Gaza hospitals during the war, the Israeli military has arrested medical staff members and dug up graves, saying it was searching for hostages’ bodies.

Hamas and hospital administrators have denied that Hamas uses medical facilities for military operations. International law experts have said Israel is obligated to protect hospitals and other civilian infrastructure even if Hamas is embedded there.

The Israeli military has faced rising international condemnation for its actions against Gazan hospitals, mosques and schools, and on Thursday it said that it aimed to ensure that Nasser, in the city of Khan Younis, could continue treating patients despite the military operation. Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, the Israeli military’s chief spokesman, said that at the hospital’s request, the military had arranged to allow international aid groups to deliver medical supplies and equipment to the hospital in recent days, including oxygen tanks and fuel.

The United Nations has said that the Israeli military allowed supplies to reach Nasser on Feb. 9 after seven previous attempts to bring aid there failed, as anesthesia, fuel, food and medical supplies ran dangerously low. U.N. officials have said that the Israeli military has impeded deliveries of aid across Gaza, an allegation Israel has denied.

Nasser has become a focus of Israel’s ground offensive against Hamas in southern Gaza, and in recent days doctors there described bombings and gunfire drawing near as Israeli forces edged toward the complex gates. After the Israeli military ordered displaced people sheltering there to evacuate, hundreds of Palestinians fled the hospital on Wednesday, although it was unclear where they would go in a territory pounded by airstrikes and riddled with fighting.

Video

Video player loading
Hundreds of displaced Palestinians fled Nasser Medical Complex in southern Gaza on Wednesday, following evacuation orders from Israel.CreditCredit…@mo_elhelo21 via Storyful

Mr. Hagari said the Israeli military had opened a “humanitarian corridor” to allow civilians to leave the complex safely. But some Palestinians who left Nasser on Thursday had to dodge drone fire outside, said Mohammad Salama, a journalist who said he, another journalist and a doctor were attacked by a drone as they fled. And on Tuesday, doctors and health officials said that people who had tried to flee the hospital came under fire, and that some were killed.

Asked for comment, the Israeli military on Thursday did not offer specific responses to those allegations.

About 300 medical workers, 450 wounded patients and 8,000 displaced Palestinians were staying at the hospital before the Israeli evacuation order, health officials have said, and it was unclear how many people remained there as of Thursday. Many of the displaced people had already fled homes and shelters elsewhere in Gaza, in many cases multiple times.

Nasser was treating about 400 patients on Wednesday, including about 80 in intensive care, with 35 on dialysis, said Rik Peeperkorn, the World Health Organization’s representative for the West Bank and Gaza. A doctor there said that the patients also included some with severe limb injuries who are difficult to transport.

Patrick Kingsley contributed reporting from Jerusalem, Rawan Sheikh Ahmad from Haifa, Israel, Ameera Harouda from Doha, Qatar, and Adam Sella from Tel Aviv.

[ad_2]

Read More

Previous post Rohit, Jadeja tons and Sarfaraz’s 62 drag India out of trouble on day one
Next post Kuch Khatta Ho Jaay actress Saiee Manjrekar visits Siddhivinayak Temple to seek blessings [Video]