New Delhi| Nov,15: Israel has launched a “targeted operation” in Gaza’s biggest hospital it accuses Hamas of using as a command centre. The hospital is sheltering thousands of sick, displaced Gazans, and the move could intensify international criticism of Israel.
Israel troops said they are carrying out “a precise and targeted operation against Hamas” inside the al-Shifa hospital. The Israel Defence Forces in a statement said they had “conveyed to the relevant authorities in Gaza once again that all military activities within the hospital must cease within 12 hours. Unfortunately, it did not.” IDF has also asked the Hamas operatives at the hospital to surrender.
The United Nations estimates that at least 2,300 patients, staff, and displaced civilians are inside the facility, trapped by days of fierce fighting and aerial bombardments. The hospital was caring for 36 babies as of Tuesday, according to medical staff there who said there was no clear mechanism to move them despite an Israeli effort to supply incubators for an evacuation.
Three premature babies have already died since the al-Shifa hospital ran out of fuel over the weekend to power generators that had kept their incubators going. Aid agencies and hospital staff have said that the situation is already “catastrophic” with medical procedures taking place without anesthetic, families with scant food or water living in corridors, and the stench of decomposing corpses filling the air.
“There are bodies littered in the hospital complex and there is no longer electricity at the morgues,” said hospital director Mohammad Abu Salmiya. Both Israel and the United States have said that Hamas operatives have been using Gaza’s hospitals to hide command posts and hostages using underground tunnels. Hamas has accused US President Joe Biden of being “wholly responsible” for the operations at the al-Shifa hospital. “We hold the occupation (Israel) and President Biden wholly responsible for the assault on the Al-Shifa medical complex,” Hamas said in a statement.