In a dramatic turn of events, the Israeli military has initiated a targeted operation at Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza, describing it as a move against Hamas. The operation, which began with troops entering the hospital, has sparked controversy, with conflicting reports and mounting humanitarian concerns.
According to an eyewitness inside the hospital, Israeli troops are in complete control without gunfire within the premises. Khader, a journalist at Al-Shifa, revealed that “six tanks and about 100 commandos entered the complex during the night,” conducting room-to-room interrogations of both staff and patients. The IDF asked men between 16 and 40 to leave specific hospital buildings, firing into the air to enforce compliance.
On the other hand, Muhammad Zaqout, director of hospitals at the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry, stated in an interview that “not a single bullet” was fired during the raid because there were no resistors or detainees inside.
The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) justified the operation as a “precise and targeted” move against Hamas, alleging a command center under Al-Shifa. The IDF’s announcement emphasized that the raid was based on intelligence information and operational necessity. The military called for the surrender of all “Hamas terrorists present in the hospital.”
The situation escalated after the US publicly supported Israeli claims, asserting its own intelligence suggested Hamas used hospitals and tunnels underneath for military operations and to hold hostages. White House National Security spokesperson John Kirby stated that Hamas operated a command and control node from Al-Shifa.
Amidst these developments, UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths expressed his dismay over the raid, emphasizing, “hospitals are not battlegrounds.” The World Health Organization also voiced extreme worry for patients and staff at Al-Shifa, with whom contact has been lost.
The dire conditions within the hospital have worsened the humanitarian crisis, with power and water shortages, lack of medical equipment, and patients unable to receive proper care. Dr. Ahmed Mokhallalati, a plastic surgeon at Al-Shifa, highlighted the critical situation, stating that surgeries have been conducted without anesthesia, and premature babies have died due to a lack of oxygen and power.