Gaza’s Al-Shifa Hospital Devastated In Two-Week Battle

Israeli soldiers withdrew from Gaza’s main hospital complex on Monday after a two-week military offensive, leaving burnt buildings and dead strewn about.

Israel claimed to have battled Palestinian militants sheltering within Gaza City’s Al-Shifa Hospital, killing at least 200 enemy fighters and recovering substantial stocks of weapons, explosives, and cash.

The health ministry in Hamas-ruled Gaza stated that, following severe Israeli air strikes and tank fire, “the scale of the destruction inside the complex and the buildings around it is very large”.

“Dozens of bodies, some of them decomposed, have been recovered from in and around the Al-Shifa medical complex,” the ministry stated, adding that the facility was now “completely out of service”.

A medic told AFP that more than 20 bodies had been retrieved, with some crushed by withdrawing automobiles.

Battles have also risen around other Gaza hospitals nearly six months into the war, beginning by Hamas’ October 7 attacks that damaged large areas of the besieged coastal territory.

According to the Hamas government news office, the army blew up more than 20 houses in Khan Yunis, the key southern city, within 24 hours of fighting raging around the Nasser and Al-Amal hospitals.

Israel street protests

US, Qatari, and Egyptian mediators have long advocated for a cease-fire and hostage release agreement, but Hamas spokesperson Osama Hamdan stated that “there is no talk so far about any new round of negotiations”.

UN agencies and humanitarian relief organizations have warned that many of Gaza’s 2.4 million residents are on the verge of starvation, and donor countries have occasionally trucked in and airdropped food.

According to the website, a second ship delivering humanitarian materials over the Mediterranean arrived just outside Gaza’s coast on Monday, days after leaving Cyprus.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose office said he had a “successful” hernia procedure on Sunday, has promised to eliminate Hamas, especially in Gaza’s far-southern city of Rafah.

The premier was “in good shape and beginning to recover,” according to a statement released by his office.

Netanyahu is under increasing pressure from the captives’ families and supporters, as well as anti-government protestors, whose nightly street rallies have gained traction and brought thousands to the streets.

The right-wing premier has also clashed with Israel’s main ally, the United States, which has opposed his plans to attack Rafah due to the city’s population of approximately 1.5 million people.

Following Netanyahu’s cancellation of an Israeli government delegation’s travel to Washington to discuss the Rafah operation, an Israeli source told AFP that a video conference meeting is scheduled for Monday.

“There may be an in-person meeting later this week,” added the source, who requested anonymity.

Hamas chief’s sister arrested

The worst Gaza war in history began on October 7, when Hamas launched an unprecedented offensive that killed around 1,160 Israelis, the majority of whom were civilians, according to an AFP assessment of Israeli official numbers.

The Gaza health ministry reports that Israel’s retaliation attack has killed at least 32,782 individuals, the majority of whom are women and children.

Deadly air strikes pummeled Gaza again early Monday, while battles raged in Gaza City and Khan Yunis, with the health ministry reporting at least 60 deaths overnight.

The Israeli military announced Monday that 600 troops had been killed since the war began, including 256 in the Gaza ground operation since late October.

Palestinian militants also took approximately 250 hostages. Israel claims that approximately 130 people remain in Gaza, 34 of whom are likely dead.

Meanwhile, Israeli police said they detained the sister of Qatar-based Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh as part of a terror investigation in Tel Sheva, southern Israel.

Police told AFP that Sabah Abdel Salam Haniyeh, 57, an Israeli citizen, was detained as part of an inquiry with Israel’s intelligence agency Shin Bet.

According to a police spokesperson, she is “suspected of having contact with Hamas operatives and identifying with the organisation, while inciting and supporting acts of terrorism in Israel” .

Battle destroys hospital

The Israeli army conducted “precise operational activity” inside the Al-Shifa complex over the last two weeks before announcing their withdrawal on Monday.

The image left behind was one of desolation, with windows blasted out, concrete walls charred, and volunteers carrying shrouded bodies across the sandy wasteland.

In the morning, dozens of air strikes and artillery targeted the region surrounding the facility, providing cover for the departing troops and tanks, according to the Hamas government media office.

The army has just released footage of its soldiers marching through the hospital’s halls, as well as images of a significant quantity of assault rifles, grenades, and other weaponry that it claims were retrieved from the maternity unit.

The military claims 200 Hamas and Islamic Jihad militants were killed during battle in and around Al-Shifa.

Hamas has denied operating from Al-Shifa and other healthcare institutions.

An Israeli strike also targeted “a tent camp” inside central Gaza’s Al-Aqsa hospital site, killing four people, according to World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on social networking platform X.

Israel’s military denied that the hospital was damaged, claiming on X that an aircraft had “struck an operational Islamic Jihad command centre and terrorists positioned in the courtyard of the Al-Aqsa Hospital”.


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