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Israel's war on Hamas homes in on Gaza hospitals

Published Nov 10, 2023 07:08PM ET Updated Nov 11, 2023 05:58PM ET
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2/2 © Reuters. Smoke rises over Gaza as seen from Southern Israel, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestinian group Hamas, November 10, 2023. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein
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By Nidal al-Mughrabi and Maytaal Angel

GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) -Palestinian officials said two babies had died and dozens more were at risk after fuel ran out at Gaza's largest hospital on Saturday, while Israel said it was ready to evacuate babies from the facility.

As the humanitarian situation worsened, the Gaza's border authority announced that the Rafah land crossing into Egypt would reopen on Sunday for foreign passport holders after being closed on Friday.

Amid continued fighting, Hamas said it had completely or partially destroyed more than 160 Israeli military targets in Gaza, including more than 25 vehicles in the past 48 hours.

But an Israeli military spokesperson said Hamas had lost control of northern Gaza.

The Israeli military will help evacuate babies trapped in Gaza's Al Shifa Hospital, chief military spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said.

"The staff of the Shifa hospital has requested that tomorrow we help the babies in the pediatric department to get to a safer hospital. We will provide the assistance needed," Hagari told a news conference.

Israel said earlier that doctors, patients and thousands of evacuees who have taken refuge at hospitals in northern Gaza must leave so it can tackle Hamas gunmen who it says have placed command centres under and around them.

Hamas denies using hospitals in this way. Medical staff say patients could die if they are moved and Palestinian officials say Israeli fire makes it dangerous for others to leave.

"It's totally a war zone, it's a totally scary atmosphere here in the hospital," Ahmed al-Mokhallalati, a senior plastic surgeon at Al Shifa hospital, told Reuters. "It's continuous bombardment for more than 24 hours now."

Most of the hospital staff and people sheltering at the hospital had left, he said, but 500 patients were still there.

The Israeli military denied endangering the hospital.

"There are clashes between IDF (Israel Defense Forces) troops and Hamas terrorist operatives around the hospital. There is no shooting at the hospital and there is no siege," said Colonel Moshe Tetro, head of coordination and liaison at COGAT, the Israeli defence ministry body handling civil affairs in Gaza.

A Palestinian health ministry spokesman said Israeli shelling had killed a patient in intensive care.

Ashraf Al-Qidra, who represents the health ministry in Hamas-controlled Gaza, said Israeli army snipers on the rooftops of buildings near the hospital fired into the medical complex from time to time, limiting people's ability to move.

"We are besieged inside the Al Shifa Medical Complex, and the (Israeli) occupation has targeted most of the buildings inside," he told Reuters by phone.

The hospital suspended operations after fuel ran out, Qidra said, adding that two babies had died in an incubator, where there were 45 babies in total.

CLASHES ALL NIGHT

Residents said Israeli troops, who went to war to eliminate Hamas after it staged a bloody cross-border assault on Oct. 7, had been clashing with Hamas gunmen all night in and around Gaza City where the hospital is located.

The military wing of Hamas ally Islamic Jihad, the Al-Quds Brigades, posted on social media: "We are engaged in violent clashes in the vicinity of Al Shifa Medical Complex, Al-Nasr neighbourhood, and Al-Shati camp in Gaza."

The Al-Nasr neighbourhood is home to several major hospitals.

An Israeli military spokesperson was asked at a briefing if troops planned to enter Gaza hospitals at some point.

"The hospitals need to be evacuated in order to deal with Hamas," the spokesperson said. "We intend on dealing with Hamas who have turned hospitals into fortified positions."

Hamas says it does not use hospitals for its military purposes.

Israel said earlier it had killed what it called a Hamas "terrorist" who it said had prevented the evacuation of another hospital in the north, which Palestinian officials have said is out of service and surrounded by tanks.

"(Ahmed) Siam held hostage approximately 1,000 Gazan residents at the Rantissi Hospital and prevented them from evacuating southwards for their safety," an Israeli military statement said.

It said Siam was killed along with other militants while hiding in the "al Buraq" school. Palestinian officials told Reuters on Friday at least 25 Palestinians had been killed in an Israeli strike at the school, which was packed with evacuees.

BABIES AT RISK IN HOSPITAL

Israel said rockets were still being fired from Gaza into southern Israel, where it has said about 1,200 people were killed and more than 200 taken hostage by Hamas militants last month.

Palestinian officials said on Friday 11,078 Gaza residents had been killed in air and artillery strikes since Oct. 7, around 40% of them children.

Israel said it had increased the number of places in which it said it would stop firing for several hours at a time so Gazans could move south and that many had done so.

"We have over the last three days seen a mass evacuation of at least 150,000 people," a military spokesman said. "And we have seen more people evacuating today as the humanitarian pause in Jabalia area has been implemented."

In London, at least 300,000 pro-Palestinian demonstrators marched through the city, with police arresting nearly 100 far-right counter-protesters to stop them ambushing the main rally. Some pro-Palestinian demonstrators were stopped and searched.

More than 20,000 people joined a pro-Palestinian rally in Brussels.

Meeting in Saudi Arabia, Muslim and Arab countries called for an immediate end to military operations in Gaza, rejecting Israel's justification of its actions against Palestinians as self-defence.

Israel's war on Hamas homes in on Gaza hospitals
 

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Comments (8)
Eliran Refael
Eliran Refael Nov 13, 2023 6:21AM ET
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gazana voted for hamas, now deal with the consequences
Husien Mohammad
Husien Mohammad Nov 11, 2023 5:02PM ET
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who destroyed the water reserves on the roof of the hospital will not offer help, stop lying!
Don Getty
Don Getty Nov 11, 2023 5:02PM ET
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Hamas, did it
Don Getty
Don Getty Nov 11, 2023 5:02PM ET
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who illegally crossed a sovereign border and murdered 1200 innocents - hamas, its a war, stop lying with your propaganda about the terrorists responsible
Maximus Maximus
Maximus Maximus Nov 11, 2023 9:37AM ET
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israel = terrorist state
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Husien Mohammad
Husien Mohammad Nov 11, 2023 9:37AM ET
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go read some history, hint: Israeli TV was there before and they filmed it before it happens
Husien Mohammad
Husien Mohammad Nov 11, 2023 9:37AM ET
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it's Zionism, way more than you can imagine, in west bank where no Hamas, hundreds of people killed by IOF (Israel occupation forces)
Don Getty
Don Getty Nov 11, 2023 9:37AM ET
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Husien Mohammad  read some history, Islamic countries have tried to destroy israel since 1948 - wonder what our world would be like if they'd simply allowed israel their right to sovereignty and safety. Shame that didn't happen, instead extremist islamic elements have disrupted the region ever since. Its a war and Israel has every right to go after the criminals terrorists responsible
Don Getty
Don Getty Nov 11, 2023 9:37AM ET
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Husien Mohammad  the one god concept was created about 4 thousand years ago, 2000 years ago chriistianty was founded on the same concept with the same god, 1400 years ago a new twist came along in the same area with different rules but the same god - and since wars over who's more right, have happened - get over it - if you think god would approve of any of it - I suspect you will find yourself in hot water when you have your chance to chat with him!
Eliran Refael
Eliran Refael Nov 11, 2023 9:37AM ET
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allah promised the land of israel to the children of abraham issac and jacob. muslims have mecca, and 22 other countries
Maximus Maximus
Maximus Maximus Nov 11, 2023 9:36AM ET
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isreals bs about 'never again' are words without meaning. they are doing it themselves as we speak...
Maximus Maximus
Maximus Maximus Nov 11, 2023 9:35AM ET
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israels bs about 'never again' are words without meaning. they are doing it themselves as we speak...
Maximus Maximus
Maximus Maximus Nov 11, 2023 9:32AM ET
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never again listen to israels bs about 'never again'.. they are executing a holocaust right now themselves...
Barry Nickerson
Subbuilder Nov 11, 2023 7:24AM ET
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Many people die in the best hospitals in the world every day.  War is war, and so bad things happen.  I'm growing cold of headlines like these. (Sorry)
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krasimir nedev
krasimir nedev Nov 11, 2023 7:24AM ET
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It's easy to be cold when it's happening on the other side of the world! You obviously don't realize what you've become! These are people! no matter what.
Alan Rice
Alan Rice Nov 11, 2023 7:24AM ET
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krasimir nedev Yeah, but humans are way over-rated.
Don Getty
Don Getty Nov 11, 2023 7:24AM ET
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Maximus Maximus  ahhhh there's a billion muslims globally how is it genocide - a war certainly but  no where close to genocide - on the other hand, a criminal religious terrorist state - Hamas based in gaza crossed a border and murdered 1200 innocent Israelies in one attack - they also took hostages to play on the global communities public opinion. Time to let israel do what needs to be done!
Don Getty
Don Getty Nov 11, 2023 7:24AM ET
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Maximus Maximus  no its war - sept 11th the US was attacked by islamic extremist's - the US started wars against two countries destabilizing the region even more than it already was. Many innocents were killed over the years of that conflict. In the end the man responsible was hiding in pakistan and the people funding much of the terrorism globally, Iran were never held accountable! Israel has every right to go after Hamas and every right to expose that hamas uses there own people as human shields - get out of their way and let them do what needs to be done!
Don Getty
Don Getty Nov 11, 2023 7:24AM ET
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propaganda from hamas, a group that crossed a sovereign border and committed atrocities seeking sympathy - sorry you started a war own it - surrender and save those innocent lives
Steven Chew
Steven Chew Nov 11, 2023 7:08AM ET
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