Israeli forces bombarded southern Gaza today after tanks advanced to the gates of the enclave’s biggest hospital in the north where health officials say dozens of patients, including babies, have died due to a lack of power and the heavy fighting, Reuters reports.
At least 13 people were killed when Israeli forces targeted their homes in the southern city of Khan Yunis, Ministry of Health officials said. The military has also positioned tanks outside Al-Shifa Hospital, Gaza City’s main medical centre, which Israel says sits atop tunnels housing a headquarters for Hamas fighters who are using patients as shields. Claims it has not substantiated with evidence and which has been denied by medical staff at the hospital and international observers who have attended the facility. Hamas also denies the claim.
The Israeli military said it was coordinating the transfer of incubators into Gaza, in a possible measure to enable the evacuation of newborn babies from the hospital. However, Israel has continued to ban vital fuel deliveries into the Strip, while targeting solar panels providing energy to the medical facilities.
Gaza Ministry of Health spokesperson Ashraf Al-Qidra, who was inside Al Shifa hospital, yesterday said 32 patients had died in the previous three days, including three newborns. At least 650 patients remain inside, he added.
In his first comments since the patient deaths reported at Al Shifa, US President Joe Biden said hospitals must be protected.
“My hope and expectation is that there will be less intrusive action relative to hospitals and we remain in contact with the Israelis,” Biden told reporters yesterday.
“Also there is an effort to get this pause to deal with the release of prisoners and that’s being negotiated, as well, with the Qataris … being engaged,” he added. “So I remain somewhat hopeful but hospitals must be protected.”
Yesterday, Israel’s military released video and photos of what it said were weapons the group stored in the basement of Al-Rantisi Hospital, a paediatric hospital specialising in cancer treatment.
Special footage from the Rantisi hospital in Gaza – on the basement floor, a room was found with signs indicating hostages were held there, underground headquarters and a room full of weapons inside the hospital: pic.twitter.com/pDsyA1mT6T
— דובר צה״ל דניאל הגרי – Daniel Hagari (@IDFSpokesperson) November 13, 2023
In a statement on its Telegram channel, Hamas said the video showed “fabricated scenes that misled public opinion”, adding that it was a “failed attempt” by Israel to justify the targeting of hospitals.