Wed. Apr 17th, 2024

KHAN YOUNIS, Gaza Strip — The Israeli army entered Gaza’s largest hospital early Wednesday, conducting what it referred to as a “exact and focused operation in opposition to Hamas in a specified space” of the ability, which has been the location of a standoff with the militant group.

The military surrounded the ability as a part of its floor offensive in opposition to Hamas. Israeli authorities declare the militants conceal army operations within the facility. However with a whole lot of sufferers and medical personnel inside, Israeli authorities have shunned coming into.

In latest weeks, Israeli protection forces have “publicly warned repeatedly that Hamas’ continued army use of the Shifa Hospital jeopardizes its protected standing beneath worldwide regulation,” the army mentioned.

“Yesterday, the IDF conveyed to the related authorities in Gaza as soon as once more that every one army actions throughout the hospital should stop inside 12 hours. Sadly, it didn’t.”

Hamas has denied the Israeli accusations that it makes use of the hospital for canopy.

Navy officers gave no additional particulars however mentioned they have been taking steps to keep away from hurt to civilians.

Learn Extra: The Harrowing Work Dealing with Gaza Docs in Wartime

The operation unfolded after the army seized broader management of northern Gaza on Tuesday, together with capturing the territory’s legislature constructing and its police headquarters, in positive factors that carried excessive symbolic worth within the nation’s quest to crush the ruling Hamas militant group.

In the meantime, Israeli protection officers mentioned they’ve agreed to permit gas shipments into the Gaza Strip for humanitarian operations. It was the primary time that Israel has allowed gas into the besieged territory for the reason that Hamas militant group’s bloody cross-border invasion on Oct. 7.

Inside a few of the captured buildings, troopers held up the Israeli flag and army flags in celebration. In a nationally televised information convention, Protection Minister Yoav Gallant mentioned Hamas had “misplaced management” of northern Gaza and that Israel made vital positive factors in Gaza Metropolis.

However requested about the time-frame for the struggle, Gallant mentioned: “We’re speaking about lengthy months, not a day or two.”

One Israeli commander in Gaza, recognized solely as Lt. Col. Gilad, mentioned in a video that his forces close to Shifa Hospital had seized authorities buildings, faculties and residential buildings the place they discovered weapons and eradicated fighters.

Learn Extra: A Photographer Captures Loss of life, Destruction, and Grief in Gaza

The military mentioned it had captured the legislature, the Hamas police headquarters and a compound housing Hamas’ army intelligence headquarters. The buildings are highly effective symbols, however their strategic worth was unclear. Hamas fighters are believed to be positioned in underground bunkers.

For days, the Israeli military has encircled Shifa Hospital, the ability it says Hamas hides in, and beneath, to make use of civilians as shields for its major command base. Hospital workers and Hamas deny the declare.

A whole lot of sufferers, workers and displaced individuals have been trapped inside, with provides dwindling and no electrical energy to run incubators and different lifesaving tools. After days with out refrigeration, morgue workers on Tuesday dug a mass grave within the yard for greater than 120 our bodies, officers mentioned.

Sufferers and medics are pictured at Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza Metropolis on Nov. 10, 2023.AFP/Getty Photographs

Elsewhere, the Palestinian Purple Crescent mentioned Tuesday it had evacuated sufferers, medical doctors and displaced households from one other Gaza Metropolis hospital, Al-Quds.

Israel has vowed to finish Hamas rule in Gaza after the militants’ Oct. 7 assault into Israel by which they killed some 1,200 individuals and took roughly 240 hostages. The Israeli authorities has acknowledged it doesn’t know what it’s going to do with the territory after Hamas’ defeat.

The onslaught — one of the vital intense bombardments to this point this century — has been disastrous for Gaza’s 2.3 million Palestinians.

Learn Extra: ‘Our Loss of life Is Pending.’ Tales of Loss and Grief From Gaza

Greater than 11,200 individuals, two-thirds of them ladies and minors, have been killed in Gaza, based on the Palestinian Well being Ministry in Ramallah. About 2,700 individuals have been reported lacking. The ministry’s depend doesn’t differentiate between civilian and militant deaths.

Virtually your entire inhabitants of Gaza has squeezed into the southern two-thirds of the tiny territory, the place situations have been deteriorating whilst bombardment there continues. About 200,000 fled the north in latest days, the U.N. mentioned Tuesday, although tens of hundreds are believed to stay.

The U.N. company for Palestinian refugees mentioned Tuesday that its gas storage facility in Gaza is empty and that it’s going to quickly finish reduction operations, together with bringing restricted provides of meals and medication in from Egypt for greater than 600,000 individuals sheltering in faculties and different amenities within the south.

“With out gas, the humanitarian operation in Gaza is coming to an finish. Many extra individuals will undergo and can doubtless die,” mentioned Philippe Lazzarini, the commissioner-general of UNRWA. Israel has repeatedly rejected permitting gas into Gaza, saying it will likely be diverted by Hamas for army use.

Plight of hospitals

Combating has raged for days round Shifa Hospital, a posh a number of metropolis blocks throughout on the heart of Gaza Metropolis that has now “changed into a cemetery,” its director mentioned in an announcement.

The Well being Ministry mentioned 40 sufferers, together with three infants, have died since Shifa’s emergency generator ran out of gas Saturday. One other 36 infants are liable to dying as a result of there isn’t any energy for incubators, based on the ministry.

The Israeli army mentioned it began an effort to switch incubators to Shifa. However they might be ineffective with out electrical energy, mentioned Christian Lindmeier, a World Well being Group spokesman.

The Well being Ministry has proposed evacuating the hospital with the supervision of the Worldwide Committee of the Purple Cross and transferring the sufferers to hospitals in Egypt, however has not obtained any response, ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra mentioned.

Whereas Israel says it’s prepared to permit workers and sufferers to evacuate, some Palestinians who’ve made it out say Israeli forces have fired at evacuees.

Learn Extra: For Gazans, There Are No Secure Havens

Israel says its claims of a Hamas command heart in and beneath Shifa are primarily based on intelligence, but it surely has not supplied visible proof to assist them. Denying the claims, the Gaza Well being Ministry says it has invited worldwide organizations to research the ability.

The evacuation on the Al-Quds Hospital adopted “greater than 10 days of siege, throughout which medical and humanitarian provides have been prevented from reaching the hospital,” Palestinian Purple Crescent officers mentioned.

In a put up on X, they blamed the Israeli military for bombarding the hospital and firing at these inside.

The White Home’s nationwide safety council spokesperson, John Kirby, mentioned the U.S. has unspecified intelligence that Hamas and one other Palestinian militants use Shifa and different hospitals and tunnels beneath them to assist army operations and maintain hostages.

The intelligence is predicated on a number of sources, and the U.S. independently collected the data, a U.S. official mentioned on the situation of anonymity to debate delicate issues.

Kirby mentioned the U.S. doesn’t assist airstrikes on hospitals and doesn’t wish to see “a firefight in a hospital the place harmless individuals” are attempting to get care.

March for hostages

Hamas launched a video late Monday displaying one of many hostages, 19-year-old Noa Marciano, earlier than and after she was killed in what Hamas mentioned was an Israeli strike. The army later declared her a fallen soldier, with out figuring out a explanation for demise.

She is the primary hostage confirmed to have died in captivity. 4 have been launched by Hamas and a fifth was rescued by Israeli forces.

Learn Extra: The Households of Israelis Held Hostage by Hamas Communicate Out

Households and supporters of the round 240 individuals being held hostage by Hamas began a protest march from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The plight of the hostages has dominated public discourse for the reason that Oct. 7 assault, with solidarity protests held throughout the nation. The marchers, who count on to succeed in Jerusalem on Saturday, say the federal government should do extra to carry dwelling their loved-ones.

“The place are you?” Shelly Shem Tov, whose son, Omer, 21, is among the many captives, referred to as out to Netanyahu.

“Now we have no power anymore. Now we have no power. Deliver again our youngsters and our households dwelling.”

Battle in Gaza Metropolis

Unbiased accounts of the combating in Gaza Metropolis have been almost inconceivable to collect, as communications to the north have largely collapsed.

Israeli army spokesman Daniel Hagari mentioned Israeli forces have accomplished the takeover of Shati refugee camp, a densely constructed district bordering Gaza Metropolis’s heart, and are transferring about freely within the metropolis as an entire.

Movies launched by the Israeli army present troops transferring via the town, firing into buildings. Bulldozers push down buildings as tanks roll via streets surrounded by partially collapsed towers.

The movies painting a battle the place troops are rooting out pockets of Hamas fighters and tearing down buildings they discover them in, whereas progressively dismantling the group’s tunnel community.

Israel says it has killed a number of thousand fighters, together with essential mid-level commanders, whereas 46 of its personal troopers have been killed in Gaza. In latest days Hamas rocket fireplace into Israel — fixed all through the struggle — has waned, although two individuals have been wounded Tuesday in a rocket assault on Tel Aviv. Particulars of the Israeli account and the extent of Hamas losses couldn’t be independently confirmed.

—Jeffery and Keath reported from Cairo. Related Press writers Amy Teibel in Jerusalem, Wafaa Shurafa in Deir al-Balah, Gaza Strip; and Samy Magdy in Cairo contributed to this report.

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