Israeli military begins operation on Gaza's al-Shifa hospital: witnesses report airstrikes and controversial claims

Israeli military begins operation on Gaza's al-Shifa hospital: witnesses report airstrikes and controversial claims

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“Due to the intensity of the bullets and artillery fire, no one could take him to the hospital,” the ministry said.

Since the beginning of the war the Israeli military has carried out several operations against medical facilities in and around the Gaza Strip.

The war began when Hamas launched an unprecedented attack from Gaza on October 7, resulting in the deaths of about 1,160 people in Israel, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tabulation of official figures.

Palestinian militants took about 250 Israeli and foreign hostages during the October 7 attack, but dozens were released during a week-long ceasefire in November.

Israel believes about 130 people remain in Gaza, including 33 – eight soldiers and 25 civilians – who are presumed dead.

While vowing to destroy Hamas, Israel has carried out sustained bombings and ground attacks on the Palestinian territories, which the health ministry says have killed at least 31,645 people, most of them women and children.

According to the Israeli military, soldiers at al-Shifa were “instructed about the importance of conducting operations cautiously, as well as the measures to be taken to avoid harm to patients, civilians, medical staff and medical equipment”.

The statement also said that Arabic speakers were deployed to “facilitate dialogue with patients remaining in the hospital.”
It added: “There is no obligation to evacuate patients and medical staff.”

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