KHAN YOUNIS, Gaza Strip (AP) — The Israeli military raided Gaza’s largest hospital early Wednesday in what it called a targeted operation against Hamas, as troops seized control of a wide swath of northern Gaza, including seizing the territory’s legislative building and its police headquarters.
In recent days, war has taken center stage Shifa Hospital, hundreds of patients, staff and displaced people were trapped inside. Shifa halted operations over the weekend as its supplies dwindled and power outages left it unable to operate incubators and other life-saving equipment. After days without refrigeration, mortuary supplies dug a mass grave Tuesday for 120 bodies in the yard.
Amid the standoff, a hospital in the heart of Gaza City, now in its sixth week, has become a focal point for conflicting stories about the war. Israel says Hamas is using civilians as human shields, and Palestinians, rights groups and international critics say Israel is recklessly harming civilians.
The Israeli military said early Wednesday that it was trying to avoid harming civilians in certain areas of the sprawling Shifa compound. No further details were given in the report.
Israel has long accused militants of hiding military assets at the facility and other hospitals, a claim denied by Hamas and medical staff.
Elsewhere, the Palestinian Red Crescent said on Tuesday it had evacuated patients, doctors and displaced families from another Gaza City hospital, Al-Quds.
Israel vowed to end Hamas rule in Gaza after the October 7 attack About 1,200 people were killed As a result around 240 hostages were taken. The Israeli government has admitted that it does not know what to do with the area long after the defeat of Hamas.
Israel’s offensive has been devastating for Gaza’s 2.3 million Palestinians.
More than 11,200 people, two-thirds of them women and children, have been killed in Gaza, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Ramallah. About 2,700 people are missing. Number of Ministry Does not differentiate Between civilian and militant deaths.
Almost the entire population of Gaza has entered the southern two-thirds of the tiny territory, where conditions are worsening as the bombing continues. About 200,000 people have fled the north in recent days, although tens of thousands are believed to remain, the UN said on Tuesday.
UN for Palestine Refugees The agency said on Tuesday that a fuel storage facility in Gaza was empty and that it was halting relief operations, including bringing in as soon as possible. Limited supply of food and medicine From Egypt to more than 600,000 people in UN-run schools and other facilities in the south.
“Without fuel, the humanitarian operation in Gaza is coming to an end. Many more will suffer and die,” said UNRWA’s Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini.
Israeli security officials reversed course early Wednesday to allow about 24,000 liters (6,340 gallons) of fuel for humanitarian efforts, officials said. Previously, Hamas had repeatedly ruled out allowing fuel into Gaza, saying it would be diverted to military use.
The Coordinator of Government Operations in the Territories, the Israeli security organization responsible for Palestinian affairs, met with the UN at the Rafah crossing on the Egyptian border late Wednesday. He said he would allow the trucks to fill up. It said the decision was taken in response to a request from the United States
The plight of hospitals
Fighting has raged for days around the Shifa hospital complex in central Gaza City, turning it into “a graveyard,” its director said in a statement.
Shifa’s emergency generator ran out of fuel on Saturday, killing 40 patients, including three children, the health ministry said. Another 36 babies are at risk of dying because incubators lack power, the ministry said.
Israel’s military says it has begun efforts to move incubators to Shifa. But they would be useless without electricity, said Christian Lindmeyer, a spokesman for the World Health Organization.
The Ministry of Health has proposed to evacuate the hospital and transfer patients to hospitals in Egypt under the supervision of the International Committee of the Red Cross, but has received no response, said ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qitra.
While Israel says it is willing to allow staff and patients to evacuate, some Palestinians who have released it say Israeli forces have opened fire on evacuees.
Israel says it is the Hamas command center In and below Shifa are based on intelligence, but it does not provide visual evidence to support them. Gaza’s health ministry, which has denied the claims, says it has invited international organizations to investigate the facility.
The evacuation at al-Quds hospital “continued a siege of more than 10 days, during which medical and humanitarian supplies were prevented from reaching the hospital,” Palestinian Red Crescent officials said.
In a post on social media, the Israeli military accused them of shelling the hospital and firing on those inside.
White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the U.S. had unspecified intelligence that Hamas and other Palestinian militants were using Shifa and other hospitals and the tunnels beneath them to support military operations and hold hostages.
The intelligence is based on multiple sources, and the U.S. gathered information independently, a U.S. official said on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters.
Kirby said the US does not support airstrikes on hospitals and does not want to see “a hospital where innocent people are trying to be treated”.
March for the hostages
Families and supporters of around 240 people held hostage by Hamas began a protest march from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Since the October 7 attacks, the plight of the hostages has dominated public discourse, with solidarity protests held across the country. The marchers, who expect to reach Jerusalem on Saturday, say the government must do more to bring their loved ones home.
“Where are you?” Shelly Shem Dov, whose 21-year-old son, Omar, was among the captives, called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “We have no strength anymore. We have no strength. Bring our children and our families home.
War in Gaza City
Independent accounts of the fighting in Gaza City are nearly impossible to gather because communications to the north have largely collapsed.
Inside some of the newly captured buildings, soldiers celebrated with the Israeli flag and military flags. In a nationally televised news conference, Defense Minister Yoav Galant said Hamas had “lost control” of northern Gaza and that Israel had made significant gains in Gaza City.
But when asked about the time frame for the war, Gallant said: “We are talking about long months, not a day or two.”
An Israeli commander in Gaza, identified only as Lt. Col. Gilad, said in a video that his forces had found weapons and cleared militants from government buildings, schools and residential buildings.
Israeli military spokesman Daniel Hagari said Israeli forces had taken over the Shaadi refugee camp, a densely built-up district on the central border of Gaza City, and were moving freely throughout the city.
Israel says it has killed several thousand fighters, including key mid-level commanders, while 46 of its own soldiers have been killed in Gaza.
Jeffrey and Keith reported from Cairo. Associated Press writers Amy Diebel in Jerusalem, Wafa Shurafa in Deir al-Bala in the Gaza Strip; and Sammy Magdy in Cairo contributed to this report.
Full AP coverage https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war.