Israel raids al-Shifa hospital in Gaza with 100 soldiers. Hamas, yes to the agreement: 50 hostages for 3 days of truce


By John

The Israeli army launched a “precise and targeted operation” against Hamas in al-Shifa hospital, the largest hospital in Gaza, calling on the terrorists to surrender. “Based on intelligence information and an operational necessity, IDF forces are carrying out a precise and targeted operation against Hamas in a specific area of ​​Shifa Hospital,” the IDF said in the statement.

At Shifa the Israeli soldiers have found Hamas weapons and resources in the area which “indicate the presence of the terrorist group”. The army said that there are no indications of Israeli hostages currently being held in the hospital, but it is believed that the operation could bring “intelligence information on the abductees”. The army then underlined that “there was no friction” between soldiers, doctors and hospital patients.

“The operation is not intended to harm patients, medical staff or citizens present in the hospital,” the Israeli army underlined, adding that Shifa management was alerted before Israeli troops entered the compound. On its account in Hebrew It is expected that incubators, medical equipment and baby food will be transferred to the hospital». Gaza’s Health Ministry, quoted by the Palestinian news agency Shebab, said that “dozens of soldiers” had entered the emergency room building and that tanks were stationed in the complex.

According to the Guardian, a witness inside the hospital told the BBC that he saw six tanks and more than 100 soldiers inside the hospital complex, in the area around the emergency room.
Ahmed Mokhallalati, a surgeon at al-Shifa, told Al Jazeera that Israeli tanks and bulldozers entered the compound. «The fire is still intense and we can hear explosions everywhere“, he said. The Palestinian health minister accused Israel of “crimes against humanity” at al-Shifa hospital, Palestinian news agency Wafa reported.

The figures vary greatly on the number of people on the site. On Sunday, the World Health Organization estimated that there were around 1,500 displaced people, up to 650 hospitalized and 200 to 500 health workers. According to a spokesperson for the Hamas-run Gaza Ministry of Health, there are currently 1,500 people in the complex including patients, medical staff and displaced people. The spokesperson added that only 10% of the total medical staff, between 500 and 600 people, are currently inside the hospital.

A White House official, speaking after the operation was announced, said he did not want to see a firefight in a hospital. Reuters cited a White House Internal Security Council spokesperson, who preferred to remain anonymous. “We – said the spokesperson – do not support the air attack on the hospital and we do not want to see fighting inside the hospital with innocent people, defenseless people and sick people who could find themselves in the middle of the shooting”. «Hospitals – he concluded – must be protected».

Hamas accused US President Joe Biden of being “entirely responsible” of the Israeli operation in al-Shifa hospital. “We hold the occupation (Israel) and President Biden fully responsible for the assault on the Al-Shifa medical complex,” Hamas said in a statement, calling the move a “barbaric crime against a medical facility protected by the Fourth Geneva Convention.” . “The Israeli occupation and all those who colluded with it to kill children, patients and innocent civilians will be held to account,” the group said.

Meanwhile, Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke “at length” in a telephone conversation about ongoing efforts to secure the release of hostages held by Hamas, including many children and some Americans.
The White House on Tuesday said it has information supporting Israel’s claims that Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad are using some hospitals in the Gaza Strip, including al-Shifa hospital, to hide or support their operations military and to hold hostages. “This is a war crime,” said national security spokesman John Kirby, adding that these actions by Hamas do not diminish Israel’s responsibility to protect civilians during its military operations. Hamas said it strongly condemns and rejects the claims, adding that these statements “give the green light for the Israeli occupation to commit further brutal massacres against hospitals.”

Netanyahu in a post on The Israeli prime minister thus responded to the statements of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who had said that Israel must stop “this killing of women, of children, of newborns” in Gaza. «While Israel does everything to keep civilians out of harm’s way, Hamas does everything to keep them in danger. Israel offers civilians in Gaza humanitarian corridors and safe zones, Hamas prevents them from leaving at gunpoint. It is Hamas, not Israel, that must answer for having committed a double war crime: targeting civilians and hiding behind them. The forces of civilization must support Israel in defeating the barbarity of Hamas,” Netanyahu added.

Forty patients died yesterday in the Shifa hospital in Gaza: this was announced by the United Nations Office for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), citing the Strip’s Ministry of Health. L’Ocha adds that only one of the hospitals in Gaza City and northern Gaza is still operational, albeit at a minimal level: all others have ceased operations due to lack of electricity, medicines, oxygen, food and water, aggravated by bombing and fighting in their vicinity. This is the al Ahli hospital in Gaza City, specifies the UN Office for Humanitarian Affairs, which hosts over 500 patients and is the only medical facility capable of hospitalizing patients in the north of the Strip. «However – he underlines -, it too must face growing shortcomings and challenges».

Hamas, yes to the agreement 50 hostages for a 3-day truce

Hamas has accepted the outlines of an agreement with Israel that provides for the release of around 50 hostages in exchange for a three-day truce in the Gaza Strip. Reuters reports it. In line with the deal, Israel will also have to release some Palestinian women and children from Israeli prisons and increase the amount of humanitarian assistance allowed into the Palestinian enclave.