Israeli troops intensify fighting inside Gaza’s Al-Shifa hospital

After several days of heavy bombing in the vicinity of the Gaza City complex, Israeli forces stormed al-Shifa Hospital, a shelter for thousands of Palestinians.

Israel’s military declared early on Wednesday morning that it was carrying out a “operation against Hamas in a specified area” near al-Shifa. Based on information from US and Israeli intelligence, it called the strike on Gaza’s major medical center a “targeted operation”.

Israel charges the dominant party in Gaza, Hamas, of using the hospital as a base of operations. Hamas disputes the claim. Israel hasn’t offered any evidence to back up their assertion.

Tanks were positioned in the medical complex’s courtyard while scores of Israeli soldiers stormed the building, according to Tareq Abu Azzoum of Al Jazeera, who was reporting from Khan Younis on Wednesday. Health officials report that al-Shifa Hospital has over 650 patients, including 36 preterm newborns and 22 patients in intensive care, in addition to about 400 medical staff members and about 2,000 displaced individuals.

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Israeli forces examined the basement of al-Shifa and penetrated the surgical and emergency facilities within the complex, according to Dr. Munir al-Bursh, the general director of hospitals in the Gaza Strip, who spoke with Al Jazeera.

Inside al-Shifa, sources claim that Israeli forces are demanding young men to surrender over loudspeakers. Israeli troops allegedly led about thirty people into the courtyard, stripped them of their clothes, blindfolded them, and asked them questions. According to accounts, Israeli soldiers also detonated a medical supply and equipment warehouse.

Within the facility, Dr. Ahmed El Mokhallalati, a surgeon, reported hearing explosions and heavy gunfire throughout the compound.

“The families and civilians who are taking refuge in the hospital with their children are going through a terrible and extremely frightening moment.” He told Al Jazeera, “It’s awful for the patients themselves and the people who are caring for them.

According to Mokhallalati, there are still over 700 patients at the hospital, with about 100 of them in severe condition. Over a thousand medical personnel are also stranded at the location, but they lack the supplies and gasoline necessary to treat patients.

Al-Shifa Hospital is also home to thousands of residents who have been displaced by Israel’s five-week bombardment of Gaza, which has resulted in the deaths of over 11,200 Palestinians. There were no signs that any of the more than 200 individuals taken prisoner during the October 7 onslaught by Hamas, which resulted in the deaths of about 1,200 people, were housed in al-Shifa.

Mokhallalati talked about the terror that has spread among the patients, employees, and displaced people who are stuck at the institution.

“We have no idea what they have in store for us. We are unsure if they will terrorize or murder people. We are aware that all of the propaganda is false, and they share our knowledge that al-Shifa Medical Center is empty.

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