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Sunday, April 21, 2024

Alarming Situation Unfolds as Israeli Forces Raid Gaza’s al-Shifa Hospital

In a disturbing turn of events, Israeli forces have reportedly raided al-Shifa Hospital, the largest medical facility in Gaza City, where thousands of Palestinians, including patients, doctors, and displaced individuals, have sought shelter. The raid follows days of intense attacks on the surrounding area, escalating an already dire humanitarian crisis in the region.

The Israeli military claims the operation is targeted against Hamas in a specified area within al-Shifa Hospital. Israel alleges that Hamas is using the hospital as a base, a claim vehemently denied by the group. The military operation is said to be based on intelligence from both Israeli and U.S. sources.

According to Al Jazeera‘s Tareq Abu Azzoum, dozens of Israeli soldiers entered the hospital, with tanks stationed in the courtyard. This incursion is considered highly risky as approximately 7,500 Palestinians, including patients, doctors, and displaced individuals, are within the hospital complex. Reports indicate that Israeli soldiers are using loudspeakers to order young men to surrender, leading to around 30 individuals being taken out, stripped, blindfolded, and interrogated.

Israeli forces are reported to have blown up a warehouse containing medicine and medical devices. Dr. Ahmed El Mokhallalati, a surgeon within the facility, described heavy gunfire and explosions, creating a terrifying environment for patients and medical staff. The hospital, already strained by a shortage of medicine and fuel, is now unable to provide adequate care to patients, with over 1,000 medical staff trapped on-site.

The raid has drawn condemnation from various quarters, with the Palestinian government holding Israeli forces responsible for the lives of medical staff, patients, and displaced individuals in al-Shifa. Hamas has labeled the assault a “barbaric crime” against a medical facility protected by the fourth Geneva Convention.

United Nations aid chief Martin Griffiths expressed his dismay, stating, “Hospitals are not battlegrounds.” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have also voiced deep concerns about the impact on sick and wounded individuals and the civilian population.

While Israel accuses Hamas of using the hospital as a base, Washington has urged caution, emphasizing the need to avoid a firefight in a medical facility. The U.S. contends that it has information about Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad using Gaza’s hospitals, including al-Shifa, for military purposes.

Hamas has invited independent investigators from the United Nations to verify Israel’s claims, asserting that the accusations are falsehoods. International law experts argue that Israel bears the burden of producing evidence to justify its attacks on a civilian medical facility.

The situation at al-Shifa Hospital is rapidly deteriorating, with thousands of lives at risk amid the ongoing conflict. The international community is closely watching, emphasizing the need for humanitarian principles and respect for international law to prevail in the midst of this crisis.

For more updates stay tuned to FELA News!

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