April 13, 2024

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Israeli forces storm the main Khan Yunis Hospital after ordering its evacuation

Israeli forces storm the main Khan Yunis Hospital after ordering its evacuation

Rafah (Gaza Strip) – Israeli forces stormed the main hospital in the southern Gaza Strip on Thursday, hours after a patient was killed and six others wounded by Israeli fire inside the complex. The Israeli army said it was a limited operation to search for the remains of hostages held by Hamas.

The raid came one day after The army sought to evacuate thousands of displaced people People who took refuge in Nasser Hospital in the city of Khan Yunis, the epicenter of the Israeli offensive against Hamas in recent weeks. The war shows no sign of ending, and the risk of a broader conflict is growing as Israel and Lebanon's Hezbollah intensify their attacks after a deadly exchange on Wednesday.

The army said it had “credible intelligence” that Hamas had taken hostages at the hospital and that the remains of the hostages may still be inside. Admiral Daniel Hagary, the chief military spokesman, said forces were conducting a “meticulous and limited” operation there and would not forcefully evacuate doctors or patients. Israel accuses Hamas of using hospitals and other civilian facilities To protect its fighters.

Released hostage He told the Associated Press Last month, she was detained with more than twenty other female prisoners in Nasser Hospital. International law prohibits targeting medical facilities, however They could lose that protection If it is used for military purposes.

Gaza Ministry of Health spokesman Ashraf Al-Qudra said that Israel launched a “large-scale incursion” with heavy gunfire, wounding the displaced people who were still sheltering there. He said that the army ordered paramedics to transfer all patients to an old building that was not properly equipped to treat them.

He said in an interview with Al Jazeera Network, “Many cannot evacuate, such as those with amputated lower limbs, severe burns, or the elderly.”

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Separately, Israel launched air strikes on southern Lebanon for the second day after that As a result, 10 civilians and three Hezbollah fighters were killed On Wednesday, in response to a missile attack that killed an Israeli soldier and injured several others.

This was the fiercest exchange of fire along the border since the beginning of the war between Israel and Hamas. Israel and Hezbollah – an ally of Hamas – exchange fire on a daily basis. Which increases the risk of a broader conflict.

Hezbollah did not claim responsibility for the missile attack that occurred on Wednesday. But Sheikh Nabil Qawuq, a prominent member of the group, said that it was “prepared for the possibility of expanding the war” and would meet “escalation with escalation, displacement with displacement, and destruction with destruction.”

Meanwhile, negotiations are underway regarding a ceasefire in Gaza It seems to have stoppedIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged to do so Continue the attack Until Hamas is destroyed and dozens of hostages are taken October 7 attack That which sparked the war is returned.

Panic scenes in the hospital

Nasser Hospital was the latest focus of operations that destroyed Gaza's health sector as it struggled to treat dozens of patients injured in the daily bombing.

A video of the aftermath of the raid during the night showed medics rushing to transport patients on stretchers through a corridor filled with smoke or dust. A paramedic used a mobile phone flashlight to illuminate a dark room where a wounded man screamed in pain as gunfire echoed outside. The Associated Press was unable to verify the authenticity of the videos but they were consistent with its reporting.

Dr. Khaled Al-Sir, one of the remaining surgeons at Nasser Hospital, told the AP that the seven patients injured early Thursday were already being treated for previous wounds.

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He added: “The situation is escalating every hour and every minute.”

The army had ordered the evacuation of Nasser Hospital and its surrounding areas last month. But as with other health facilities, medics said patients were unable to safely leave or move elsewhere, and there were still thousands of people displaced by fighting elsewhere.

“People have been forced to live in an impossible situation,” said Lisa Machiner of Doctors Without Borders.

“Stay at Nasser Hospital against Israeli army orders and become a potential target, or exit the complex into a horrific scene where bombings and evacuation orders are part of daily life.”

Relief International, also known by its French acronym MSF, said its staff had to flee the hospital on Thursday, leaving patients behind, and one staff member was detained at an Israeli checkpoint just outside the facility.

There is no end in sight to the war that has been going on for months

The war began when Hamas militants broke through Israel's formidable defenses on October 7 and stormed several communities, killing about 1,200 people and wounding others. He took another 250 hostages. More than 100 prisoners were released during the ceasefire last year in exchange for the release of 240 Palestinian prisoners.

About 130 prisoners remain in Gaza, and a quarter of them are believed to be dead. Netanyahu has come under intense pressure from the hostages' families and the wider public to reach a deal to secure their freedom, but his far-right coalition partners could bring down his government if he is seen as too lenient with Hamas.

Israel responded to the October 7 attack by firing rockets One of the bloodiest and most destructive military campaigns In modern history. More than 28,000 Palestinians have been killed, 80% of the population has fled their homes, and a quarter of them suffer from hunger amid a worsening humanitarian catastrophe. Large areas in northern Gaza, the first target of the attack, It was completely destroyed

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Hamas has continued to attack Israeli forces throughout Gaza, and says it will not release all remaining prisoners until Israel ends its offensive and withdraws. Hamas also demands the release of a large number of Palestinian prisoners, including senior militants.

Netanyahu rejected these demands, describing them as “delusional.” He added that Israel will soon expand its attack on the city of Rafah, located in the far south of the Gaza Strip, on the Egyptian border. More than half of Gaza's population of 2.3 million He took refuge in Rafah After fleeing fighting elsewhere in the coastal enclave.

At least 28,663 Palestinians have been killed since the war began, most of them women and children, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health, which does not distinguish between civilians and combatants. More than 68 thousand people were injured in the war.

The air strikes that occurred late Wednesday in central Gaza killed at least 11 people, including four children and five women, according to hospital records. Relatives gathered around the bodies wrapped in white shrouds outside Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in the city of Deir al-Balah in the center of the country, before the remains were placed in a truck to be transported for burial.

One man struggled to let go, lying on the ground holding one of the bodies in the truck and crying.


Marou reported from Beirut and Liedman from Jerusalem. Associated Press writer Karim Chehayeb in Beirut contributed to this report.


Find more AP coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war