Israeli forces raid Gaza’s largest hospital leaving hundreds stranded


Israeli forces raided Gaza’s largest hospital where hundreds of patients, including newborns, have been stranded with dwindling supplies and no electricity, as the army extended its control across Gaza City and the north, early Wednesday.
Shifa Hospital has become a symbol of the widespread suffering of Palestinian civilians during the war between Israel and Hamas, which erupted after the militant group killed some 1,200 people and seized around 240 captives in a surprise 7 Oct. attack into southern Israel.
The hospital is also at the heart of clashing narratives over who is to blame for the thousands of deaths and widespread destruction in the besieged territory. Israel accuses Hamas of using Palestinians as human shields, while Palestinians and rights groups say Israel has recklessly endangered civilians as it seeks to eradicate the group.
Mohammed Zaqout, the director of hospitals in Gaza, said Israeli tanks had entered the medical compound and that soldiers had entered buildings including the emergency and surgery departments, which house intensive care units.
“The occupation forces stormed the buildings,” he said angrily over the phone. He said the patients, including children, are terrified. “They are screaming. It’s a very terrifying situation … we can do nothing for the patients but pray.”
The Israeli military said it was carrying out a “precise and targeted operation against Hamas in a specified area in the Shifa Hospital.” It said it warned “relevant authorities in Gaza” that all military activities within the hospital must cease. “Unfortunately, it did not.”
Israel says Hamas has a massive command center inside and beneath Shifa, but has not provided visual evidence, while Hamas and the hospital staff have repeatedly denied the allegations. Hours before the raid, the United States said it had its own intelligence suggesting Hamas used Shifa and other hospitals, and tunnels beneath them, to support military operations and hold hostages.
The military said that the forces raiding Shifa have medical teams and are searching for hostages as part of the operation. Israeli forces also claimed control of several key buildings and a downtown neighborhood in Gaza City. A trickle of fuel for aid workers
Most of the hundreds of thousands of people living in Gaza City and surrounding areas have fled after weeks of Israeli bombardments. Hardly any aid has been delivered to the the north, which has been without power or running water for weeks.
More than 11,200 people, two-thirds of them women and minors, have been killed in Gaza, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry in Ramallah, and two thirds of the territory’s 2.3 million people have fled their homes. About 2,700 people have been reported missing. The ministry’s count does not differentiate between civilian and militant deaths.
Almost the entire population of Gaza has squeezed into the southern two-thirds of the tiny territory, where conditions have been deteriorating as bombardment there continues.
The UN agency for Palestinian refugees said Tuesday that its fuel depot in Gaza was empty and that it would soon cease relief operations, including bringing limited supplies of food and medicine in from Egypt for the more than 600,000 people sheltering in severely overcrowded U.N.-run schools and other facilities in the south.